Friday, July 26, 2013

Erin Bowman Tells the Truth: inspirational writing music

I'm answering a truth today, one that touches on one of my favorite topics ever: MUSIC! The question:

What songs are most inspiring for you to write to?

I tend to listen to a lot of instrumental music when I write. (Something about hearing lyrics messes with my writing mojo--I start listening to the singer and ignoring my story.) What sort of instrumental stuff, you ask? Typically movie and video games scores, and, for lack of a better label, "epic" music.

Alexandre Desplat, Ramin Djawadi, Danny Elfman, Clint Mansell, Javier Navarrete, John Powell, Hans Zimmer--among others--are some of my favorite film composers.

For FROZEN, John Powell was my savior. While drafting (and revising), I listened to the Bourne soundtracks on endless repeat. Here's a favorite:

I have a sci-fi WIP that, at least so far, I've written almost entirely to Mansell's Moon score. The theme has this creepy, building quality to it that I just love. (Wait for it to kick in around 2:15. So worth it.)

The soundtrack for Assassin's Creed 3 (Lorne Balfe) is also incredible, especially for drafting other-worldly tales. (I listen to this a ton while tinkering on my fantasy WIP.)

But more often than not, I default to my absolute favorite writing music while working: the epic music. These are the artists whose albums I can play back-to-back for hours on end and always remain inspired, the songs that are moving, haunting, and dramatic. Pieces that stand apart and yet also blend so seamlessly they never jarring me out of my writing groove.

Atop my epic trailer music list are Audiomachine, Two Steps From Hell, and Thomas Bergersen (who's actual one half of TSFH). Any album by these guys is pretty much guaranteed to get you inspired. I would not have finished my first draft of TAKEN3 without this music. True story.

Some personal faves:

And lastly, this song from Audiomachine IS the final chapter of TAKEN3. I sobbed while listening to this track. Bittersweet, agonizing, gut-wrenching tears.

So I've blabbed a lot. Hopefully it was anything but boring and you've found a few new artists to add to your writing playlist(s). And since I'm always looking to discover new music, is there anyone in particular you love to write to? Leave me suggestions in the comments, please!

Jenn will be up next week to answer a truth or dare, but until then, you can always get your book-nerd fix on our Thirteeners tumblr.


Erin Bowman is a YA writer, letterpress lover, and Harry Potter enthusiast living in New Hampshire. Her debut novel, TAKEN is now available from HarperTeen, and FROZEN releases 4/15/14. You can visit her blog (updated occasionally) or find her on twitter (updated obsessively).


  1. OMG I LOVE TWO STEPS FROM HELL! Invincible and Archangel are two of my favorites ^_^

    But I love Heart of Courage by them as well :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. TSFH is truly the best writing music around. Love!

  2. Augh! That MOON soundtrack is so good.

    1. Right? As is the movie. Seriously, that's one of the best sci-fis I've seen in ages.