Theme Song

I finished the first draft of Drivers on Saturday. It's a good thing, too, because I was raptured that afternoon.

Ha ha. Kidding.

Anyway, a funny thing happened on the last page. Third-to-last sentence: "We're. . .back in the sunlight."

Cue the music!

I know a lot of writers make playlists of songs to go with the novel they're working on. (I'm going to leave that preposition right where it is, thankyou.) But when paraphrased lines from songs work their way into your manuscript, does that mean you're listening to that playlist a little too much?

The thing is, Follow Me Back Into the Sun is the theme song for this novel. I originally had it near the beginning of the playlist as a bit part to go with one chapter because it's a nice song and kinda sorta fit.

Then I realized it neatly condenses the feel of the whole book into four minutes, and I promoted it to the end of the playlist. It could have been written about my characters—but, of course, it wasn't.

Did I write a novel based on a song? (No, I didn't)

Or do I simply interpret vague lyrics to mean what I want them to?

I do that second one all the time. Take the line "You can blow what's left of my right mind" from Future Starts Slow by The Kills. I doubt they were thinking about literally blowing up a mentally ill person. But they could have been. I mean, that's what it says.

The Rescues' lines
Love be brave
Burn all the maps and let the ashes blow away
aren't about a boy named Ash and a girl named after the wind.
Sirens in the distance cry
Don't know how to leave you
Don't know how to leave you now
doesn't have to be about lovers trying to save each other on a battlefield. That's the nice thing about ambiguous lyrics. They let you make the song mean what you need it to mean.

And it's an awesome song. Listen to it, if you haven't already.

(If your browser settings prevent that link from working, you can go to and search for "Follow Me Back Into the Sun" by The Rescues. No need to register or pay.)


  1. LOVE that song.

    I've played the same song over and over and over and over while writing. usually soft so it's more the beat, but not necessarily the lyrics, but it ALL helps. And yeah, I TRIED to base a whole story on a song, and I'm still determined to start with a song and pull a story and write the story.

  2. Awesome-- love how it all came together for you! Um... how about basing a whole book on a cool title name? *whistles*

  3. I don't understand the playlist-to-novels thing. I've never written that way. Songs are their own things; they never mesh with my writing. So when writers talk about this (and a ton of them do, including yourself) I am completely in the dark. It's interesting.

  4. For me, the songs are how I stay in the story when I can't be working on it. I pick songs that elicit similar emotions to the story. I'm not entirely sure it helps, and it can sometimes harm my writing. (Like if I assign a song to a scene before I've written it. What I imagine ends up looking like a music video and doesn't come out right. Now, I try to avoid correlating songs with specific scenes.)

  5. I'm a big fan of listening to music while I edit, but I struggle to listen to music while writing, I get too caught up in the lyrics!

  6. I don't ever base a story on a song, but I'll hear a song and think- that totally goes with my book! There's one that I HAD to mention in my book (even though it might not stay mentioned) because it summed up exactly what the character was thinking and feeling at that moment. I love the power of music and I think it totally helps my writing.


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