Hello again! It’s been a while since my last update, but rest assured, progress on the Restart Again series has been both consistent and plentiful over the past month or so. I usually save my updates for the end of the blog post, but I thought it’d be nice to share some good news right up top: I just passed the 91,000 word mark in my rough draft! That’s a 20,000+ increase since my last update in June. While I don’t expect to keep that pace for the remainder of my writing, it goes to show what happens when I hit a particularly exciting pocket of plot (and have the time to get that writing done). Based on the story arc so far, it’s safe to say this is gonna be another long one; we might even be looking at a 200,000 word manuscript by the time I wrap up my initial pass! That’s…a lot of words.

Now, with the recap out of the way early, let’s take a minute to talk about music! I have to assume that a vast majority of people like to listen to music while they’re writing, whether it’s for a creative project, work, or school stuff. I’m certainly no different. I think it’s safe to say that over 95% of the all the words in the Restart Again series have been written alongside an ever-expanding list of what I feel are some very inspirational tracks, and I thought it would be cool to talk about what those are!

I break my musical inspirations down into two main camps: soundtracks that I listen to while doing the majority of my writing work, and individual songs that give me an intense burst of inspiration for a particular scene. Going over my entire writing playlist would be a bit tedious (at the current moment, it’s a 719 track playlist on YouTube Music), but I wanted to shout out some special components of it. When I was just starting on this project back in 2019, my soundtrack of choice was the “Rising of the Shield Hero” OST by Kevin Penkin. I had just finished the first season of Shield Hero, and had been continually impressed by the quality of the background music in the show. Naturally, I hunted down the OST and had it playing essentially on a loop during the formative pages of Restart Again: Volume 1. After that, my next obsession came in the form of the OST to the game Death’s Gambit (a truly wonderful game, by the way). Just listen to the first track, and I think you might understand why. The entire soundtrack comes in at just over 2 hours, which is the perfect length for a solid writing session.

There are plenty of other songs that fill out this 700+ tracklist, including music from Lord of the Rings, multiple games from Supergiant Studios, and most recently, the Loki TV show on Disney+. However, music that I find even more interesting are the songs that immediately jump out and grab me with a particular inspiration on my first listen. Songs like these are pretty few and far between, and I thought it might be neat to call them out alongside the particular points in the books they link up with.

The first instance of this comes in Volume 2 with the Attetsian courtyard battle (which I hope is vague enough to not spoil anything for new readers, while obvious enough to tell fans of the series exactly what I mean). I had this scene bouncing around inside my head for almost a year, certainly well before Volume 2 was even started as a draft. It went through a lot of revisions as the story continued to change on the way there; originally, Attetsia was going to be invaded by some sort of big, mantis-like creatures from another dimension, without any sort of political intrigue involved. Through every iteration, one song always remained as the backdrop to the fight. It was a track that immediately grabbed me (in large part due to the fantastic breakdowns and guitar solo), and I knew it would be the soundtrack to an epic battle. Also, it’s from a fantastic local act that I saw live a couple times, which makes it even better!

My next musical inspiration struck with the finale of Volume 3. It was an end to an arc that I had been planning ever since the start of Volume 2, which gave me plenty of time to think about how it could grow and become a more meaningful experience. Somewhere along the way, I had been introduced to a track by the wonderfully named “Black Tiger Sex Machine”. I started listening through a few of their albums, and eventually stumbled across the track “Armada”, the breakdown of which so vividly matched the current ideas I had for Lux’s return to the throne room in Volume 3’s finale that I knew exactly what I needed to do. While the whole track is great, the embeded video should start right around the 1:30 mark and runs for the next 50 seconds, which is where I found my inspiration.

My final musical inspiration is for a scene I’ve yet to reach in my rough draft for Volume 4. As with the others, it’s the backing for a relatively intense moment of combat at the climax of the book, and it’s still taking shape every day. It’s fun to put the track on at least once a week and see how things have changed given my progress through the draft, and to see what I can think of to make the upcoming scene even better. When Volume 4 finally releases, you’ll probably know exactly where this last track fits in!

I know this was a pretty weird blog post compared to what I usually do, but the idea has been bouncing around inside my head for so long that I just needed to get it down in writing. I hope it was something you all could enjoy, and maybe gave you some new music to look up! With my usual end-of-post update already out of the way, I’ll just wrap up here! Stay safe out there, and as always, thanks for reading!


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