The Sounds of Soundtrack

I’m often asked what inspires me to write. How do I generate new ideas? How do I find the focus and discipline to write as much as I do? [I mean, can we just address that question for a second? My lack of focus is legendary, but I guess I generate enough blog content, add that to my novel + works in progress = the idea that I’m incredibly focused. I mean, I’m not going to contest that perfectly constructed image you may have of me, so let’s just move on…]

One word: Music.

It’s next to impossible for me to write without a carefully crafted playlist, one strategically structured to capture the tone of what I’ve written/am about to write. And in great anticipation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, I’m putting the finishing touches on a playlist that will carry me through the month.

My new WiP, which is a high-concept contemporary young adult (YA) novel, is heavily inspired by the music of Queen and the Scissor Sisters, whose unabashedly unapologetic  brands of glamrock have informed one of the major arcs of the story, which revolves around music and music as a tool to escape and heal.

I’ve long been a fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury, whose vocals are unmatched and whose music transcends all genres and spans all different kinds of experiences. Songs like “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” and “You and I” are some of my all-time favorites and still sound timeless today. Freddie Mercury was an icon, especially for the gay community, and his success alone is enough to inspire.

About five years ago I discovered Scissor Sisters, and let’s just say it’s been an extreme love affair ever since. Jake Shears as a vocalist is crazy, and they remind me of some sort of glamrock new wave hybrid of Elton John, Queen, and alternative rock/electro-pop; the perfect pop confection.

Their extravagant, fabulous image is one that cannot be ignored, only praised for being so upfront and unafraid. Their songs often deal with issues of sexuality, like one of my favorites, “Take Your Mama,” but they are adamant about not being labeled a “gay” band. Their music is universal, and it’s fucking awesome.

Much of the playlist that I created for my current WiP is composed of Scissor Sisters and Queen songs, broken up by songs that thematically sync with certain moods I’m trying to convey in different parts of the book. I often draw experience from different music genres, as my taste in music varies from day to day, and I never want to seem predictable in my writing, so I vary my playlists accordingly.

Without further ado, I give you my (totally awesome) playlist, the soundtrack to my WiP:

  1. “Fire With Fire” by Scissor Sisters
  2. “I’m Not Dead” by P!nk
  3. “Don’t Stay Home” by 311
  4. “Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters
  5. “Cough Syrup” by Young The Giant
  6. “The Starting Line” by Keane
  7. “Undone” by No Doubt
  8. “Time To Pretend” by MGMT
  9. “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters
  10. “You and I” by Queen
  11. “Somebody to Love” by Queen
  12. “F*** Yeah” by Scissor Sisters
  13. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara
  14. “Let’s Have A Kiki” by Scissor Sisters
  15. “Baby Come Home” by Scissor Sisters
  16. “Black & Gold” by Sam Sparro
  17. “This Is What It Feels Like” (Feat. Trevor Guthrie) by Armin van Buuren
  18. “Rock ‘N Roll High School” by The Ramones
  19. “The Edge Of Glory” by Lady GaGa
  20. “Killer Queen” by Queen
  21. “Electric Feel” by MGMT
  22. “I Still Remember” by Bloc Party
  23. “Marlboro Lights” by Natalia Kills
  24. “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion” by Oliver Tank
  25. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap
  26. “This Never Happened Before” by Paul McCartney
  27. “Here on In” by South
  28. “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It” by Stars
  29. “Heroes” by The Wallflowers
  30. “Bend And Break” by Keane
  31. “Silenced By The Night” by Keane
  32. “Paint the Silence” by South
  33. “Flesh and Bone” by The Killers
  34. “Runaway” by P!nk
  35. “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers
  36. “Ride” by Lana Del Rey
  37.  “Ribs” by Lorde
  38. “Kids” by MGMT
  39. “Devils Don’t Fly” by Natalia Kills
  40. “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones
  41. “Sleepwalker” by Adam Lambert
  42. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
  43. “Self Control” by Scissor Sisters
  44. “Watching You” by Natalia Kills
  45. “Kaleidoscope Dream” by Miguel
  46. “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey & Miguel
  47. “The Thrill” by Miguel
  48. “Year Of Living Dangerously     “ by Scissor Sisters
  49. “You Know Where to Find Me” by Imogen Heap
  50. “Blue Ocean Floor” by Justin Timberlake
  51. “Start Today Tomorrow” by Youth Group
  52. “Early Winter” by Gwen Stefani
  53. “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” GLEE Version
  54. “Beyond the Gray Sky” by 311
  55. “Long Way To Happy” by P!nk
  56. “Read My Mind” by The Killers
  57. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake
  58. “The Way We Are” by Aiden Grimshaw
  59. “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey
  60. “Boys Don’t Cry” by Natalia Kills
  61. “Closing In” by Imogen Heap
  62. “Inevitable” by Scissor Sisters
  63. “Shady Love” by Scissor Sisters & Azaelia Banks
  64. “Best In Me” by Scissor Sisters
  65. “Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie
  66. “Try” by P!nk
  67. “Waiting For Time” by Sam Sparro
  68. “Somewhere” by Scissor Sisters
  69. “So Happy I Could Die” by Lady GaGa
  70. “Carry On” by Fun.
  71. “Other Side of Things” by 311
  72. “Never Close Our Eyes” by Adam Lambert
  73. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  74. “Life is a Song” by Patrick Park
  75. “Seasons of Love” GLEE Version

What do you think of my playlist? What songs, if any, get you in the mood to write or work? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. You know me, anything HYPER emotional gets me in the mood to unleash my creativity (either with choreographing a new dance or writing something… a poem, a blurb, a sardonic sassy statement, or half a page of my book that NEEDS some TLC). 🙂 I’m really feeling some Ben Harper, CHVRCHES, Lorde, and even Katy Perry’s Prism lately as inspiring the muses within me. Also, Spotify introduced me to a French singer Austine, who’s album “Ouh La La La” is wonderful, mellow, and just flat-out gorgeous. And Polica. Feeling that Polica.

    And thanks for your list, I’m listening to some new Stars songs now… thanks Steven!


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