Behind the scenes writing

There are two things I rely on while writing a book: playlists and critique partners.

I love making playlists for each book that I work on. Sometimes they change as I work through later drafts of the book, if certain scenes or tones have changed, but I always make sure I have a completed playlist by the end.

“I thought, ‘Hey, I can leave, I can leave.’
But now I know that I was wrong…”

– “Stay,” Lisa Loeb

With the playlist for The Boyfriend Thief , I was going for a specific feel in the lyrics. Avery thinks she knows exactly who she is. I wanted all of the music of the book to reflect this idea she has about herself, while also showing the parts she hides.

“…don’t it make you sad to know that life
Is more than who we are.”

– “Name,” The Goo Goo Dolls

Avery was a hard character to get to know. She’s VERY different from Libby in Something to Blog About and Cassie in Troy High. She shuts down a lot and pushes people away, and a lot of times it felt like she was pushing even me away from really figuring out her story.

“I just want my life to be the same
Just like it used to be.”

– “Wonderful,” Everclear

But that’s why critique partners are so important to the writing process. They helped me pick out the places where her motivations weren’t coming through like they should be and where she was becoming too much of a brat. Critique partners and playlists–those are my top tips for writing. Have a good playlist to get you into the mood of the story, and have a good critique partner who can tell you when something isn’t working and push you into discovering the deeper part of the story. The original version of The Boyfriend Thief is nothing like the finished product I have now. It was much lighter and the motivations for all the characters weren’t as clear. Avery especially wasn’t as developed as she is now because it took some time and some advice from other people for me to really figure her out. I threw out a lot of chapters, even right up until the end. I think I threw out four chapters on my final pass through the book because I finally admitted they did nothing to move the story–even though I really loved one of those chapters.

The entire The Boyfriend Thief playlist is listed below:

  • “Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb
  • “Fall to Pieces” by Avril Lavigne
  • “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray
  • “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek
  • “Collide” by Howie Day
  • “Best of Me” by Sum 41
  • “Somewhere In Between” by Lifehouse
  • “Not Myself” by John Mayer
  • “Go” by Hanson
  • “Here is Gone” by The Goo Goo Dolls
  • “Come Back Down” by Lifehouse
  • “Wonderful” by Everclear
  • “Name” by The Goo Goo Dolls
  • “That’s When I Love You” by Aslyn
  • “Trouble Sleeping” by The Perishers
  • “Someday” by Rob Thomas
  • “Sway” by The Perishers
  • “Perfect” by Smashing Pumpkins