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Writing Playlists for Every Mood

by Kathleen Nolan

Paged is designed to make every aspect of your writing life easier— and that includes the playlist! Writing is even more difficult when you can’t find the perfect song to get you in the zone. Whether you’re writing a sickeningly sweet first date, a blowout action scene, or the tragic death of a beloved character, we have the perfect playlists to keep you fueled and focused the whole way through.

Writing a Scene That Will Make Your Readers Sob

If you’re hoping to write a sad scene that packs a punch, here are some songs that will get you in your feels. Put on this playlist when writing character deaths, bad breakups, heartbreaking revelations, big fights, devastating losses, or anything that will make your reader shed a tear. 

  • “Know Me” by The Band Camino
  • “Funeral” by Phoebe Bridgers
  • “The Chain” by Ingrid Michaelson
  • “Autumn Leaves” by Ed Sheeran
  • “Break My Heart Again” by Finneas
  • “Skinny Love” by Birdy
  • “IDK You Yet” by Alexander 23
  • “When” by Dodie Clark
  • “Footnote” by Conan Gray
  • “Paint” by The Paper Kites

Writing a Fluffy Romantic Scene

Fake dating, grumpy/sunshine, enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance… you can make any trope work with this playlist! Listening to love songs is one of the best ways to give you, your characters, and your readers butterflies. Pretend each song is playing through a montage scene in a Hallmark movie, and get the mushy feelings going!

  • “Are You Bored Yet?” by Wallows feat. Clairo
  • “We’re Going to be Friends” by The White Stripes
  • “Bright” by Echosmith
  • “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes
  • “Feels Like” by Gracie Abrams
  • “Sleep on the Floor” by The Lumineers
  • “New Year’s Day” by Taylor Swift
  • “Best Years” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  • “Force of Nature” by Bea Miller
  • “Like Real People Do” by Hozier

Writing a Steamy Romantic Scene

Suddenly, the adorable montage is over and the characters discover that there’s only one bed in the hotel room. Both of them are appalled until they realize they don’t quite hate being so close to each other, and… you know what happens next ; ) We picked some songs that— like your characters— bring a little bit of spice to a sweet moment. 

  • “River” by Bishop Briggs
  • “Teeth” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  • “Human” by Dodie Clark
  • “YOUTH” by Troye Sivan
  • “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
  • “Take Me to Church” by Hozier
  • “After Hours” by The Weeknd
  • “Bedroom Hymns” by Florence and the Machine
  • “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande
  • “Crush” by Tessa Violet
  • “Pillowtalk” by Zayn

Writing a Scene Full of Tension

These are some songs your characters might blast in the car when they’re feeling stressed. Maybe they’ve just had a massive fight, need to make a big decision, or discovered a terrible secret. Queue up this playlist when you need to add a little angst to the story, and let the rage-typing begin.   

  • “Little Lion Man” by Munmford and Sons
  • “I’m Trying (Not Friends)” by Maisie Peters
  • “Reckless Driving” by Lizzy McAlpine feat. Ben Kessler
  • “Boys Like You” by Dodie Clark
  • “How to Be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds
  • “Maybe I’m Afraid” by Lovelytheband
  • “Miss Jackson” by Panic! at the Disco
  • “No Body, No Crime” by Taylor Swift feat. HAIM
  • “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw
  • “Sympathy” by The Goo Goo Dolls

Writing a Happy Ending

Nothing is better than resolving all the tension in your story with the perfect ending. Whether your characters find love, independence, success, joy, or satisfaction in the end, here are some songs to give them the conclusion they deserve. Not to mention the closure YOU deserve! Finishing a story and leaving behind the characters you created is hard— this one’s for you.

  • “The Graduate” by The Arcadian Wild
  • “The Story” by Conan Gray
  • “Actually Happy” by Blu Eyes
  • “Good Life” by One Republic
  • “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove
  • “Don’t Take the Money” by Bleachers
  • “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
  • “Hope Ur Okay” by Olivia Rodrigo
  • “San Francisco by The Mowglis
  • “Buttercup” by Hippo Campus