The Road to NaNoWriMo 2018: Cuts from The Playlist

Personally, I don’t like to write to music, unless it’s instrumental or part of the background noise if I’m writing outside the house. That doesn’t mean music isn’t a part of my writing journey, though, because there are times when I do need something to psych me up for my writing. 

This year’s playlist is all about happiness and low angst, since I’ve resolved to write something happier for a change. I chose ten cuts that represent the a few key elements of the story (which is now operating under the working title Ten Truths About Me) while setting the mood and motivation to write. 

Jonas Blue, “Perfect Strangers.” Since this is a story about a fake relationship–and the inevitability of crossing over to a “real” one–I thought it would be great to have a song in there about two people trying to decide if they should jump into something they’re not ready for. Neither of them knows (or wants to know) how it’s going to end, so why shouldn’t they?  

Rico Blanco, “Yugto.” If you’ve read Nine Years Away, you would remember Sienna Sanchez, the queen bee who tries–and somehow fails–to redeem herself to the classmates she tortured. Originally the book was going to be about her, but after I listened to the feedback about the bullying subplots in NYA I realized that I shouldn’t redeem her so easily, especially since the love interest-to-be in this manuscript was also a victim of her snobbery. This is my roundabout way of saying that she’s in this book, too, and her redemption isn’t coming any time soon. 

Nikka Costa, “So Have I For You.” This song must be, what, 18, 20 years old? But it represents the emotional wound that the MC carries with her all the time about being “second best” in her family, especially since (spoiler alert!) she’s related to a certain socialite who’s trying very, very hard to settle her karmic debts in time for their tenth high school reunion. What does our heroine have to do to rise above this?

Panic! At The Disco, “High Hopes.” The love interest in this story is a self-made millionaire who rose from relative nothingness to become one of the richest men in the Philippines, and thus an inevitable chick magnet to many. There are chinks in his armor, though, and all the “mama said’s” in Brendon Urie’s vocals hint at our guy’s weakness for putting his family first even when said family is already telling him to settle down, in so many ways.

Bazzi feat. Camila Cabello, “Beautiful.” Can you imagine this being the thought bubble in our love interest’s head when he sees our main character dressed up for date night for the first time? Thought so. 

Gallant, “Bourbon.” It wouldn’t be a romance playlist without a sexy slow jam to put everyone in the mood. There’s glamour in the mix, but also heart and soul. 

Aqua, “Turn Back Time.” Some of you might remember this song from the soundtrack of Sliding Doors, so I chose this for another (not-that-spoilery) plot point when our protagonists realize that they would’ve done things much differently if they’d known sooner what they’d known all this time. 

Jessie Ware, “Say You Love Me.” I think I’ve spoiled enough on this page, so let’s just say that this is part of the conflict that pulls our couple apart. 

Noah Kahan and Julia Michaels, “Hurt Somebody.” Because we all need a song for the moment when everyone realizes that they’ve messed up and it’s about time they saved the day…but how? 

Sade, “By Your Side”: “You think I’d leave your side, baby?/You know me better than that.” A classic, but also a great way to tie the ending up in a satisfying way. 

BONUS TRACK: Blanks, “Better Now.” As we say in Tagalog, wala lang. Then again, I could really use something to make me giggle for the next 30 days, so this (and Weezer’s cover of “Africa”) fit the bill. 

Love, Stella

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

Browse the blog