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August 21, 2015

Blog Tour - A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

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Every writer has a different planning process --- some write outlines and some come up with a plot off the cuff, some go on huge researching trips and others look things up as they go along. And others still --- like Hannah Moskowitz, author of A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD --- let music be their guides. Below, she tells us how playlists help her write her books, and she even shares the songs that brought A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD from concept to finished novel!


When I'm brainstorming a book, one of the first things I do is start thinking about a playlist. I use playlists the way a lot of authors use written outlines: to help me keep track of the progression of the story, to control the pacing and to figure out which scenes are the most important and where those scenes go.

My playlist for A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD is:

“The Gymnast, High Above the Ground” -- The Decemberists

“Invincible” -- OK Go

“Vagabond” -- Wolfmother

“Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” -- Queen

“Easier Than Love” -- Switchfoot

“The General” -- Dispatch

“Hey Baby” -- No Doubt

“All These Things That I've Done -- The Killers”

“Here's to the Night” -- Eve 6

“Revolution” -- Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe Soundtrack)

“We Both Go Down Together” -- The Decemberists 

“Celebration Guns” -- Stars

“It's Only Love” -- The Beatles

“No Children” -- The Mountain Goats

“Know Your Enemy” – “American Idiot” Soundtrack

“21 Guns” – “American Idiot” Soundtrack

“The Engine Driver” -- The Decemberists

“How to Be Dead”-- Snow Patrol

“A Perfect Sonnet” -- Bright Eyes

“Hometown Glory” -- Adele

“I Remember” -- Damien Rice

“If You're Gone” -- Matchbox Twenty

“I Want a Warning” -- Idlewild

“Nothing Wrong” -- Jimmy Eat World

“How Far We've Come” -- Matchbox Twenty

“I'll Cover You (Reprise)” – “RENT” Soundtrack

“We Will Rock You” -- Queen

“Things” -- Frightened Rabbit

“At Last” -- Etta James

“Alive With the Glory of Love” -- Say Anything

“Daydreamer” -- Adele

“Sons and Daughters” -- The Decemberists

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A lot of times, for each book, I have an artist or band who dominates. Clearly here it was The Decemberists.

I start by making a massive playlist where I include any song that could possibly work, going by a line that I remember off the top of my head, or a movie I know it from, or the title. Then after I listen through it a few times and pluck out the songs that don't work, I start arranging them into an order that makes sense.

I rarely listen to the playlist while I'm writing --- I like quiet while I'm working --- but I listen to it all the time while I'm on the subway, or falling asleep or doing one of the hundred things I'll find to do to avoid actually writing. Playlists are a great way to stay in the headspace of the book when you're not actively working on it.

Plus, they can actually help the book itself; I realized a part of the book needed another action scene because there was a whole cluster of slow songs with nothing to break them up. I found the right song and wrote the scene after that. It's now one of my favorite scenes in the book. (It's the "We Will Rock You" scene.)