Monday, October 21, 2013

A Guest Post by Allyson Gottlieb

Happy Monday, blogospherians! Today, I bring you a guest post about playlists by author Allyson Gottlieb. If you remember, Allyson did an interview last Monday where she shared her love of music and what it means to her as a writer. In case you're new to the blog, I'll remind you that Allyson is one of the authors attending UtopYA Con 2014. Tickets for that event are now on sale. Click here to get yours! Without further ado, I bring you:

Adding the Second Dimension: The Importance of Having a Book Playlist

by Allyson Gottlieb

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." —Plato

Of our five senses, the two big ones—the ones we are constantly using to perceive and understand the world around us—are sight and sound. To have one without the other would be to get only half the story.

So why should our writing be any different?

Making a playlist can be very fun (it’s also an excuse to do nothing but lie around and listen to music for a couple hours, hello?). My playlists aren’t meant to be listened to while you read the book, but rather as more of a supplementary thing.

When picking songs, I look for lyrics that remind me of certain moments in the story. Maybe a specific character, maybe an important scene, maybe a central theme or idea. I’ve noticed that I tend to use more indie-type artists or obscure songs by popular artists—they just fit the feel I’m going for more. But who knows? Maybe you’ve written a chick lit romance that goes perfectly with Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry.
With Darkest Legacy, since it’s a shorter piece, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of a more general full-book playlist for each installment, I’m doing a series of character-centric playlists to go with every novella specific to the character that features most heavily in it. (For example, the one to go with Darkest Legacy was for Tamara since we see the entire story through her eyes. The one for Darkest Shadows will be for Valentine since it’s told half in his perspective.)

To give you a better idea of what I’ve been talking about, here’s one of the entries from the Tamara playlist:

“Falling” by The Civil Wars

Why am I feeling so guilty?
Why am I holding my breath?
Worried about everyone but me
And I just keep losing myself
Please, please tell me you know
I’ve got to let you go

This song manages to capture the strange and heart-crushing emotion of “falling out of love”, and between the dreamy instrumentals and the softness of Joy Williams’ voice, it does a very nice job of putting you in the head of someone who’s been through what Tamara has. Beautiful and haunting.
You can see the rest of the Tamara playlist here: Linky

See? I’ve got the song and artist, a snippet of the lyrics, and my explanation for why I chose it. Pretty easy, right?

It’s okay if only some of the lyrics fit and not the whole song—that’s why I include the specific snippets. It’d be pretty impossible to find a song where every single lyric fits the idea from your story.

And a word about explanations: It’s likely you will find a song or two that foreshadow or tease some major turning point or plot twist in the novel. (I certainly have.) Don’t shy away from including them by any means. Remember, most of the people who see the playlist will likely be people who’ve read your book. But for those who haven’t, just word the explanations carefully.

Even if the song isn’t about a spoiler, the explanation shouldn’t be too specific. Everyone is going to interpret music differently, just as everyone reads a story differently. That’s why I don’t see my playlists as being a background track for my books. They’re just another way to live inside the world I’ve created, touching another one of the senses.

~ Allyson

Guys, give this little lady's book a shot!
Title: Darkest Legacy
Author: Allyson Gottlieb
Genre: YA Paranormal
Length: Approx 51 Printed Pages
Amazon Link: Kindle $0.99

A fast-paced, high-stakes novella

Everyone has secrets they'd prefer stayed buried.  But information wants to be free... and so does Tamara Kingsley's ex-lover, incarcerated on the maximum-security prison planet, Alpha.

Tamara has done things she's not proud of, but that was years ago.  Now the headmistress of the Silvermist School of Magic, she has an honest life, one that makes her happy.  For the last twenty years she's fought like hell to keep it that way, and she thought she had succeeded.

She's about to find out just how wrong she was to think her past was dead and gone.

Follow her on the Web

I do hope you all take a chance on this book, it's a great read!

Don't forget to check out the interview with Allyson from last Monday.

Do you have a playlist for your book(s)? Link 'em up in the comments!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. I've added the book to my TBR on Goodreads. I'm slowly whittling down my TBR pile so hopefully I can get to it soon. Is it a standalone or series starter?

    1. That's great news! She'll be happy :) It's a series starter. She's working on the next one now and has assured me it'll be out soon. Thanks for the support, Heather!

  2. great stuff Allyson. For my previous novel I not only had a playlist but made it available on Spotify and linked to it in the novel. All the songs on that list were 'played' by the DJ character in the4 novel, but like you say, it's not necessary for the reader to listen to them while reading.

    1. She totally inspired me with this post. I have a playlist for my new novel now. It was awesome. Your tip about Spotify is awesome. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the blog, Sulci!


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