Writing Exercise: 30 Songs, 30 Chapters

Posted 8 May, 2014 by DLWhite in Exercises, Writers Write 2 Comments

Image courtesy Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m doing this exercise because it has been a crazy day and I needed something fun to occupy my brain for a little bit! Last night on The Twitter I saw Roni Loren talking about this writing exercise from Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (pick that up wherever you buy books or HERE at Amazon). It looked fun, so I’m in!

What to do:


  • Grab a piece of paper, a pen and your music source- pod, pad, phone, boombox, radio
  • Number your page 1 through 30.
  • Press Play

Shuffle through 30 songs and write down the title of each. VIOLA. You have thirty chapters, or thirty stories or thirty ideas to bounce around in your brain. Link two or three songs together for a short story idea. Take one song and go to town on it.

This exercise is designed to help writers plot/spark ideas to write or expand a story idea. So I did it! Here’s my list, shuffled from my ‘liked from radio’ playlist on Spotify which could be anything from Mozart to Ice Cube.

  1. You Sexy Thing

  2. Let’s Get it On

  3. I’m Coming Out

  4. Aint No Sunshine

  5. I Wish

  6. Got to Give it Up

  7. Summer Breeze

  8. Le Freak

  9. Boogie Wonderland

  10. PYT

  11. My Girl

  12. Womanizer

  13. Mony Mony

  14. How Low

  15. Now That We Found Love

  16. Oh What a Night (December 1963)

  17. Groove is in the Heart

  18. Get Ur Freak On

  19. Can’t Hurry Love

  20. If It Isn’t Love

  21. You’re Never Over

  22. Would I Lie To You?

  23. Ready or Not

  24. Lose Myself

  25. Shake Ya Ass

  26. Dirt Off Ya Shoulder

  27. You Know I’m No Good

  28. Underneath it All

  29. Red Red Wine

  30. Clocks


Again, like Roni, I wanted to see what I’d get with a playlist of songs that I didn’t curate. So, here we go again with a Pop playlist:

  1. Wild Ones

  2. Some Nights

  3. We Can’t Stop

  4. Diamonds

  5. Blurred Lines

  6. Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

  7. Demons

  8. Locked Out of heaven

  9. Counting Stars

  10. Edge of Glory

  11. Daylight

  12. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love

  13. Moves like Jagger

  14. Treasure

  15. Firework

  16. Try

  17. Stronger

  18. Hey Brother

  19. Drive By

  20. Somebody That I Used to Know

  21. Mirrors

  22. One That Got Away

  23. Timber

  24. Just Give Me a Reason

  25. We can’t Stop

  26. Domino

  27. The Way You Are

  28. Young Wild & Free

  29. Man Down

  30. Lighters

I’ve used music and song titles before, I so I know music to be so helpful in generating song ideas. The lists above, unfortunately didn’t bring me anything at first glance, but I find that ideas like to sneak up on me, so I’ll definitely keep perusing them.

If you did this exercise, please be sure to link me/Roni so we can share in the fun!

2 Responses to “Writing Exercise: 30 Songs, 30 Chapters”

  1. I love this idea! I especially like that it can be a catalyst for fiction or non-fiction. I have such a hard time finding inspiring prompts for the type of writing I do. (Maybe because I’m still not sure what type of writing I do. Autobiographical? Comedic rant?) So, thanks for this. I’m going to try it. I’ve been stuck for a while. Maybe I’ll even get a short story out of it. I really want to try my hand at fiction.