The Musical Adventure of Beneath the Starlit Sea
Writing Beneath the Starlit Sea was an entire musical adventure through the soundtrack of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Original Game Soundtrack). While I find that usually I am digging around for the right song to fit a mood, a scene, or describing an atmosphere, while drafting this book, I found that I was listening to a particular selection of these songs on repeat. Here are a few of my favorites:
Geralt of Rivia – Marcin Przybylowicz
The gentle but powerful nature of much of this song was perfect for many of my more emotional scenes, including the ending and a few of the chapters closer to the start. I really liked the way the song made me feel like I was right in the environment of the story and it also helped me to build up some scenes that may have been lacking in descriptive details throughout the first draft. I listened to this on repeat so many times, and it is one of the more popular songs in general on the soundtrack, which is completely understandable in my opinion!
Spikeroog – Mikolai Stroinski
Another atmospheric piece, with delicate details but a formidable power for my writing. I loved using this song for the more intimate pieces of the novel, including Garit and Illyse’s first kiss. It felt fitting to build a roaring fire, a few drinks, and a slightly snowy atmosphere around this song, along with a taste of something forbidden.
Kaer Morhen – Marcin Przybylowicz
I still hear this song in my sleep with the way it lulled me into a sense of security while writing the story. Whenever I was feeling particularly stuck over a scene or a moment or a conversation, I would put this song on and listen to it a few times through. Something about the melody never failed to clear my brain and give me direction for where the story should go.
Drink Up, There’s More! – Percival Schuttenbach
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to this song on repeat—I probably make up approximately half of the seven million plays the song has on Spotify. Whenever I was lacking energy or was writing a scene with horseback riding, a chase, or something particularly upbeat, this was the song that I turned to in order to get my fingers moving on the keyboard.
On top of writing from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Original Game Soundtrack) album on Spotify, I also have since found that the following songs accurately portray the feelings I was trying to get across, the emotions Illyse and Garit were digging into, as well as reflect the story as a whole. Sometimes while writing, it was a process to find the right moment or right lyrics to keep me moving forward. However, none of these songs ever steered me wrong in terms of getting back on track with the story.
Take Me to Church – Hozier
The dark piano of this song really connected with me in some of the messier moments of the story, but also in trying to work with Illyse’s emotions and Garit’s feelings toward her. I added the song to my playlist just before I started drafting, originally for another book that I was working on, but it absolutely applied to this story as well and I kept it in my repertoire.
In Bloom – Sturgill Simpson
I think I listen to this song at least once during every one of my drafts. I find the voice so soothing and comfortable, and sometimes when I’m having a high-ley moment it’s a nice transition back toward a more intimate scene.
Song for Another Time – Old Dominion
This is one of the first songs on my personal playlist, and even though it feels much different than the other tracks here, I found listening to this song at the very end of the book really got me thinking about the future of Illyse and Garit from Garit’s perspective. I think it makes for an interesting contrast from the way the other songs made me feel, while also being an entirely different musical genre. However, what I liked most about this one was the lyrics, and I think it’s reflected in how Beneath the Starlit Sea comes to a close.
As usual with my books, music makes up such a large portion of how I view the story and how the pieces of the plot come together. I often will listen to the same song on repeat for days or weeks while trying to perfect a plot point or edit a section to make sure it makes sense. However, the above seven songs were definitely at the top of my playlist for the course of writing and working on Beneath the Starlit Sea, and I hope you enjoy them while reading through the story as well.