Sona’s WIP Playlist (Or: EMO-fest 2015!)

dj-book-credit-suchitra-printsUnlike some of the other lovelies of the Deb Ball, I didn’t have a playlist for TINY PRETTY THINGS. With three characters going at once, my writing time for that book was usually all about finding the right first line for a chapter — i.e. pondering for hours — and then spilling the whole thing out. Yes, each girl had murky (sometimes mournful) emotional depths, but the way I wrote for that particular project was far removed from my usual — I think I was actually echoing the laser-focus each girl brought to her life.

My current work-in-progress? The one I’ve been working on for like ten years? So totally the opposite. Because there is so much of me in that character, the music that sets the tone for her is so much me too. But it’s weird, in a way, because all the songs on the list are throwbacks, harkening to old memories and experiences — moments I’d have to work hard to get back to. So the music, it’s like a distillation, an emotional shorthand that puts me right back into that time and space and mindframe.

And I have a confession to make: when it comes to my current work-in-progress, I’m totally EMO. Because the character — Anamika — is very much like me, her playlist is an odd mix, an amalgam of alt-pop and Bollywood songs, all with a soft, gooey center. Herewith, my playlist, with a key, piercing lyric for the ones in English. Not gonna do it for the ones in Hindi — something definitely gets lost in translation.

“Lemon Parade,” by Tonic
Did the boys all tease you, when they had the chance/
Always left standing, when it came time to dance/
Did you hide behind your books, girl?
Did you find your secret friends?

“Linger,” by the Cranberries
And I’m in so deep/
You know I’m such a fool for you/
You got me wrapped around your finger/
Do you have to, do you have to let it linger.

“Hands Down,” by Dashboard Confessional
And the time on the clock when we realized it was so late/
And this walk that we shared together/
And the streets were wet/And the gate was locked so I jumped it/
And I let you in/
And you stood at your door with your hands on my waist/
And you kissed me like you meant it.

Chura Liya (with English subtitles!)
Essentially, it’s now that you’ve stolen my heart, don’t go a’changing.

“Believe Me,” by Tonic
Love, I hope you won’t be late/
You know, how much I hate to wait/
Believe, my heart is in your hands/
And our life is like a song/
When you sing along, baby let it go.

Choodiyan Khanak Gayi, from Lamhe
A deceptively upbeat song about love and longing.

“Vindicated,” by Dashboard Confessional
I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well/
I am seeing in me now/
the things you swore you saw yourself.

“Look After You,” by the Fray
There now, steady love/
So few come and don’t go/
Won’t you, will you, be the one I’ll always know.

What’s on your work-in-progress playlist?

Author: Sona Charaipotra

An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at or

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