Friday, June 15, 2012

Character Theme Songs, Chelsea Mueller talks MC's

Chelsea Mueller is the face behind the wildly successful blog  Vampire Book Club, she is a friend to all writers and readers, and an aspiring writer herself. Having just finished and submitted her first novel, I wanted to hear her take on writing and music. Here is what she had to say about things

I rarely listen to the music inspiring my writing while actually, you know, writing.

Instead, I use music to fuel my characters.

For me, anything with lyrics has me singing along or, worse, writing along. When I’m actually fingers-on-keyboard writing, my music picks are instrumentals. Movie scores (Lord of the Rings and Tron: Legacy were primary on my dark young adult novel) and baroque pieces dominate my actual writing playlist.

That said, I do a lot of listening to music before I write. This is especially true to get into characters’ heads. While my protagonist could link up to any number of songs, all of my secondary characters have theme songs.

Yeah. I know. Theme songs.

It wasn’t intentional. I just started adding to the playlist as I ran across a song perfect for a character. The most helpful here is that one of the lesser antagonists is going crazy in a literal sense. He’s under the influence of an underworld goddess and she likes to inflame insecurities, emotions and fear. This guy is having trouble processing why our protagonist ended their quasi-relationship.

As insanity flares, he acts out flashing from manic and violent to depressive and scary. As such, he gets two theme songs.

At times he’s everything in “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t” by Brand New.

And at other times he’s 100 percent “I Should Have Sent Flowers” by NORA.

Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and writes dark YA lit with a mythology bent. She loves strong heroines, paranormal worlds that feel real, TV vampires, nerd-ery and snarky comments from the crowd. Find her online at or @ChelseaVBC on Twitter.


  1. Glad I'm not the only one who can't listen while writing (I need to be engaged with one thing or the other, and listening to music isn't passive for me).

    Also, I love the idea of theme songs for secondary characters. Interesting!

  2. Great post, Chelsea! I can't listen to music while I'm writing either. It totally messes with my brain. I But I do have soundtracks of songs that I put together to inspire a project. It helps to listen to the play lists when I find myself tripping over a particular plot point or if the words just aren't flowing like they should.

  3. I'm not alone! :D

    Jenn, you're absolutely right to describe listening to music as an active event.