The best music for writing horror

The best music for writing horror

What’s the best music to write to? It’s a question I get asked all the time. In fact, it’s probably third on the list, after how many books I’ve sold, and how much money I’ve made from writing.

I can’t answer these latter questions because, first of all, it’s really no-one’s business but my own, and second of all, I’m too scared to ask my publisher in case the answer is zero on both counts. But I can answer the former and tell you all about the music I listened to while writing my debut horror novel Slasher Sam.

Normally, I listen to rock, hard rock, alt rock, punk rock, garage rock, classic rock, and pretty much all the other types of rock music there is in the world, as well as some heavy metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, etc.), but it just didn’t work for me while I was writing this book.

The trouble was, I’d often find myself singing along or dwelling on the lyrics, which would then begin to invade my work, when I really wanted to be writing in my own voice, or the voice of serial murderer Sam Hain in this case.

But I couldn’t write in total silence, either. As much as I like to read sentences back to myself from time to time, I needed some sort of background music, or I’d probably go crazy like the character in my book, grab an axe and go on a killing spree.

The solution was horror movie soundtracks.

That’s right. While I was writing my tribute to the slasher movie genre I listened to soundtracks from some of the best movies in the sub-genre – Halloween, Candyman, Psycho, Friday the 13th, Final Exam, The Slumber Party Massacre, Prom Night, April Fool’s Day, Just Before Dawn – as well as the soundtracks to The Shining, Suspiria, It Follows, and many others.

As far as horror novels go, Slasher Sam is extremely cinematic in that the killer protagonist literally acts out their favourite Friday the 13th kills in one chapter, channels their favourite slasher movies in others, and discusses their favourite horror movies between different killing sprees.

So, it turns out that listening to dark and dreary, scary and sombre movie soundtracks was the perfect fit for me and for Sam.

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