5 Writing/Reading Goals for June 2017

#1 Write 1000 words a day

I haven’t been very disciplined these last few months when it comes to daily writing. I’ve been doing a good amount of editing and writing new content whenever the need arose, but in June I want to set a daily goal of 1000 words. Not an astronomical amount, but something easily achievable.

My works-in-progress will benefit, as will my creativity flow.

#2 Make a plan for Where the Woods Grow in Flames

…Which will boil down to two factors: a.) recalibrate my outline and incorporate some structure changes, and b.) decide if to self-publish the sequel later this year OR take the project to Wattpad.

#3 Finish reading all the books I’ve started

May was a month of starting books and not finishing them. Not because I wasn’t enjoying them, but because I had a lot on my plate (and plenty of distracting hobbies as well). This month I’m (finally) going to finish The Beast of Talesend (Kyle R. Shultz), Aftermath: Life Debt (Chuck Wendig), and Lords of the Sith (Paul Kemp).

I’m also super excited to get my hands on the new Darth Vader comic coming out this month.

#4 Post four more solid chapters of The Broken City of Crows

As many of you know, I upload a new chapter of The Broken City of Crows to Wattpad every Friday. June will be my first full month of uploads, so I’m looking forward to getting four exciting chapters going. I’m hesitant to set any numerical goals in terms of reads or votes, so I’m just going to enjoy the process and make June’s chapters as good as I can.

#5 Create digital paintings for Gwinn and Ember

Speaking of tBCoC, after sharing my digital painting of Avora last week, a lot of readers asked whether I’d be doing more characters and if so, if Gwinn and/or Ember were on the to-do list. The answer to both those questions is yes. I’ve already started thumbnailing a sketch of Gwinn, and I hope to have completed paintings of him and Ember by the end of the month. Perhaps by the end of the summer, I’ll have painted the whole Red Vanguard. You never know!


What are some of your goals and plans for June? Let me know, and go get ’em! In the meantime, have a great day.

Final Cover and Release Date for Where the Woods Grow Wild!

The blog’s been pretty quiet these past two weeks or so, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working non-stop behind the scenes (hint: I have). And, as a result of said productivity, I have several bits of exciting news to share! Remember that series we did a while back, in which you got a glimpse of the synopsis, characters, and story-world of Where the Woods Grow Wild? Well, now I’ve got more for you. Specifically, I’ve got the finalized cover design, and…wait for it…a release date!

That’s right, this is happening. I’ve just about finished working with the feedback from my beta readers, and that means the end of the journey is just around the bend (fittingly, since I started this project about a year ago).

In the near future, I’ll talk more about release specifics (parties and celebratory snacks and pre-orders and all that fun stuff), but for now, I just want to share the two main biggies. So, without further ado, as they say…here’s the final cover for Where the Woods Grow Wild!

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I’m not 100% sure how the image will show up, so here’s the back-cover blurb in case it’s not at a readable size.

A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.

Now for the release date. I have yet to sort out details such as pre-orders (there will be plenty of time for that, don’t worry), and we all know how fickle Createspace can be. However, barring any unforeseen nasties, Where the Woods Grow Wild will be available in ebook and paperback forms on Amazon on December 10th, 2016. A month minus one day.

Mark your calendars, friends. We’re almost there. In the meantime, have a great day.

Writerly Plans for Fall 2016

Hello, friends and readers!

Another academic year is underway, and the Fall season is fast approaching. It’s a period of change and transition for a lot of us, and I’m no exception. Here’s a preview of what I have in store for the remaining months of 2016.

Day jobs

Last year I started work as an online class supervisor at a school here in Sant Cugat (best city in Spain). That job kicked back to life last week, and I’m in the thick of classes already.

This Fall I’m also adding a new day job, as some of you saw on Twitter. I got a job teaching private English classes (as a second language) at an academy, so that’ll fill up a few afternoons.

Writing plans

While my beta readers are going through Where the Woods Grow Wild, I have several plans to keep myself busy. I’ve already started writing a sequel, simply because I couldn’t bear to not spend more time with my characters.

As soon as I hear back from my beta readers, however, I’ll dive into more edits accordingly. My top priority this Fall is to get Where the Woods Grow Wild perfected (in the achievable sense of the word) and published. A lot of people keep asking when it’s coming out, and my answer remains the same…soon!

Publication plans open up a lot of other boxes of things to get ready for: a release party, a book signing in town, final touches on design, etc. I’m working to have all that ready to go!


Fall is my favorite season by far. The cooler weather, rainy days with tea, and general festivities always invigorate me. I’m excited for what the following months have in store. What sort of plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

Where The Woods Grow Wild: Explore The Story World

In the first sneak-peek post, I shared my blurb for Where The Woods Grow Wild. On Wednesday, you guys got to meet some of the characters from the story. As announced in the schedule, today I’m going to give you a quick tour of the world where the events of Where The Woods Grow Wild take place.

Note: I found these pieces of art on Pinterest. Besides the map, none of them belong to me. Each talented artist will be credited and linked to. Their artwork is merely representative and inspirational, not an actual depiction of the locations.

If you were expecting expansive maps with kingdoms, countries, or provinces, you might be surprised to see that the world of Where The Woods Grow Wild (or at least the world affected therein) isn’t a world at all, but simple village on the edge of a forest.

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Art by yours truly! This one does belong to me.

While our story may not send characters on long journeys across the land, each side of the coin–the ordinary side and the wild side–has its share of peculiar places to explore. Let’s begin in…

Bardun Village

As you may have gathered by now, Bardun Village is a town for simple folk who prefer to live ordinary lives. Built around the grand clock tower, Bardun Village isn’t the biggest town, or the most important town, or even the prettiest town. But Mayor Clarenbald makes sure that the people’s needs are met, and at the end of the day, that’s enough.

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Bart de Vries on Artstation

Two roads exit Bardun Village. The road to the north takes you to Aldenturf and the towns beyond Aldenturf, where many people end up going to find a respectable trade. The road to the south takes you nowhere in particular. You’re bound to hit a town or city if you follow it far enough, but with Aldenturf only a handful of hours away by wagon, there’s simply no need.

Besides the clock tower, Bardun Village consists of family dwellings, a few trade shops, an apothecary, a market square, an orchard, farmland to the west, and wild fields to the east. There are, however, two places that deserve a mention of their own.

The first is the Cabbage Cart, the large building off the south road. Though it’s technically an inn, the Cabbage Cart serves mostly as a place for the townspeople to pass the time in the evenings over bowls of onion soup. This is where we’ll meet our first protagonist, Martin Colter, as he works as the Cabbage Cart’s dish washer, wood stacker, and general handyman.

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Art by Allan Bernardo on Artstation

The second is the mayor’s residence, a grand building jutting from the market square. This is, of course, where Mayor Clarenbald conducts his mayorly business, served by his team of giggling maids along with his trusty (sometimes) courier, who happens to be our other protagonist, Elodie Tuck.

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Art by Jinwon Yun at Artstation

The rest of the village is, to be frank, quite boring, so we’ll skip it. However, should you decide to take the south road and cut across the fields on your left, you’ll soon stand in the shadow of…

The Forest

From the outside, the forest looks like…well, like an ordinary oak forest. It’s when you delve into the inner workings that you realize the woods are a world of their own. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to tell you too much about it. The dryads wouldn’t be happy if I revealed the location of their island palace, for instance. Nor can I point out the Turtlegabble River, because it’s pretty hard to find, or the Minnowchuck River, because that delves into spoiler territory. I should warn you, though…don’t cross the Minnowchuck. Trunders live on the other side, and they’re vicious.

If I could show you the woods, they might look something like this…

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Art by Mikael Gustafsson at Dribble

I wish I could tell you more about the forest. I truly do. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to suck the mystery out of things, would it? Not to mention the fact that I’d have to tell the turtle blossoms, the sting finches, the sage vipers, and the bog boars why I’m posting random blog articles about their habitat (oh, and the less I say about the shape-shifting morpher, the better).


That brings this post to a conclusion! To explore the rest of the story world, you’ll have to take a walk where the woods grow wild for yourself…

Guys. Guys. Hold on. Next Wednesday, on September the 14th, I’m posting the entire first chapter of Where The Woods Grow Wild right here on You Write Fiction! Mark your calendar and be sure to come back for more!

In the meantime, have a great day.

Where The Woods Grow Wild: Sneak Peek Series Announcement

It’s been some time since I got this excited about a blog post. As many of you know, Where The Woods Grow Wild is nearing completion. I don’t have a release date set yet, but I’ll be pretty surprised if it’s not a bestseller available within the next few months.

A lot of you awesome people here on the blog, as well as Twitter and Facebook, have been expressing excitement about the book. I can’t thank you guys enough! Your support is what keeps my fingers on the keyboard some days.

To tide us all over until the actual release, I’ve decided to do a gradual curtain lift on some of the content in Where The Woods Grow Wild. I hope these reveals generate even more buzz prior to publication (for me as well as you!), and the dates I set will give me that delicate sense of urgency to get the job done.

So what exactly do I have in store?**

August 31st – Synopsis Reveal and Beta Hunting

Starting things off this Wednesday, I’ll be posting the finished synopsis of Where The Woods Grow Wild and asking for beta readers (let the nervous pacing begin). If you think you might be interested in beta-reading but want more info, keep that tab open on Wednesday.

September 7th – Meet the Characters

A week later I’ll introduce you to a handful of the cast members from Where The Woods Grow Wild. You’ll meet the protagonists as well as some of the secondary and side characters.

For each character, you’ll get a glimpse of who they are, what their role in the story is (all spoiler-free, of course!), and some representative dialog lines (those of you who follow my #1linewed and #2bitTues shares on Twitter will probably recognize those lines).

September 9th – Story World Overview

Just two days after you meet the characters you’ll get a glimpse of the story world as well. Expect to see a completed map (perhaps more than one?), my favorite visual inspiration pieces, and an introduction to some important locations. Time to get my tour guide mojo on!

September 14th – Read Chapter One

That’s right, I’m doing it. On the final Wednesday of this series, you get the chance to read the first chapter of Where The Woods Grow Wild. Not gonna lie, it’s one of my favorite chapters, and I’m totally terrified thrilled to share it with you.


By the end of the series I hope to have accomplished two things. First, I want to be that much closer to publication. These shares and reveals will keep me on my toes, and that’s when I’m most productive. Second, I really hope to get you guys pumped about Where The Woods Grow Wild’s release. Gotta be honest, right?

You’ll get tired of me saying this, but I truly am grateful for all the support you’ve shown so far. We’re getting closer to the end goal every day!

In the meantime, mark your calendars and stay awesome! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

**Note: regular blog posts will not be interrupted by this series. If you’re just not interested in Where The Woods Grow Wild, no worries! There will still be other content popping up. Stick around! 

The Six Question Character Challenge: A Glimpse into “Where The Woods Grow Wild”

The splendid writer and blogger S. M. Metzler tagged me to participate in this illustrious phenomena. The goal of the tag is to answer a series of prompts or questions from the perspective your w.i.p.’s characters. Be sure to read my tagger’s post over at Tea with Tumnus!

I’ll be introducing some characters from my work-in-editing-progress Where The Woods Grow Wild, a fantasy-adventure novel coming later this year.

The six questions/prompts to answer are as follows:

  1. A contradiction within the character (the good kind that indicates depth)
  2. The character’s Myers-Briggs type
  3. Favorite color
  4. How would they slay a dragon? (Hypothetically, since not all stories have dragons)
  5. What is their darkest secret?
  6. Where do they see themselves in ten years?

It seems past participants have included photo references for their characters. I will not be doing so, simply because I prefer to keep those to myself. I’m just selfish like that. Also, if the answer to a question includes a spoiler, I’ll skip it for obvious reasons. I don’t know if that’ll be the case or not.

Enough about me. Let’s talk about these wonderful people who are my characters.

Note: There are a bunch of super-fun characters I could have chosen from, but I decided to stick to three for brevity’s sake. You’ll have to meet the rest some other time. 


Character 1: Elodie Tuck (co-protagonist)

The contradiction: Elodie is fun-loving and mischievous. She’s not afraid to risk a bit of trouble for the sake of a good laugh. At the same time, she’ll often be the first to take level-headed action when things get serious.

Myers-Briggs type: ENTP

Favorite color: Yellow, without a doubt.

How would she slay a dragon? Elodie isn’t the best with weapons, so she’d probably hit it with a big stick while it slept. It’s a small dragon, okay?

What is her darkest secret? She’s afraid of the dark. Fairly trivial, but she’ll never admit it all the same.

Where does she see herself in ten years? Probably hiding in the apple orchard to skip work.


Character 2: Martin Colter (co-protagonist)

The contradiction: Martin trusts his own abilities and willpower to overcome any obstacle, but the fact that he’s missing a hand sometimes renders him frustratingly useless, and he easily gets discouraged when that happens.

Myers-Briggs type: ESTJ

Favorite color: Blue

How would he slay a dragon? Well, Martin only has one hand, and he’s never used a melee weapon in his life (unless a dull wood-chopping axe counts), so if he ever encounters a dragon…let’s hope he’s smart enough to run.

What is his darkest secret? He can’t stand to see others get hurt because of him, especially when it’s because of his handicap, because the perceived guilt is hard to shake off.

Where does he see himself in ten years? Married to Elodie, of course We’ll take things one step at a time.


Character 3: Podgin

The contradiction: Podgin prefers a life of solitary food-hoarding over interacting with other people, yet deep down he hides a particular fondness for a few of the other characters.

Myers-Briggs type: ISFP

Favorite color: mushroomy brown.

How would he slay a dragon? He wouldn’t, because in the event of a dragon appearance he’d be hiding in his oven.

What is his darkest secret? He knows far more about some of the other characters than anyone suspects. Certain people confide a great deal in him and trust him to keep his mouth shut, which he loyally does.

Where does he see himself in ten years? Comfortably in his hole-in-the-ground home with no one but his beard and a dish of truffles for company.


There you have it! The Six Question Character Challenge. I must say, that was loads of fun, and it helped me get a fresh look at my characters.

I would tag specific people, but I’m not sure who has or hasn’t been tagged already, and I feel like I always end up tagging the same bloggers. So here’s what I’ll do: if this blog tag looks fun to you, consider yourself tagged by me. Fair enough?

I look forward to sharing more information about the characters, plot, and story world of Where The Woods Grow Wild. In the meantime, there’s still work to be done!

Publishing Plans, Writing Goals, and Other Assorted 2016 Shenanigans

Remember that one time back in February when I said Where The Woods Grow Wild would be available by late April? Yeah…that didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, July is almost over and I’ve yet to finish the second draft. To say that my writing plans for 2016 have been delayed is an understatement.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say there’s been a lot going on since January, and I’ve been juggling a part-time job (two as of a few weeks ago) with some remaining freelance editing work.

Technically 2016’s halfway point was a month ago, but I’m going to pull a ‘who cares?’ and do some recalibrating. Here’s what I’ve got up my sleeve for the rest of 2016:

Finish and publish Where The Woods Grow Wild

Aside from my day jobs, this will be my top priority. I’m making great progress on rewrites, and I’ll be beta-reader shopping soon (wink-nudge). No promises (I’ve made that mistake too many times already), but I really want to see WTWGW hit Amazon in October-November (that’s giving myself plenty for a few extra editing rounds, just in case).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00071]
Current cover art for WTWGW, designed by Silvia Philbrick at Orca Creative Studio.

I’ve been sharing snippets on social media (mostly Twitter and Instagram) via #2bitTues, #1LineWed, and other trends, and the support you guys have shown is humbling and motivating, more than you realize. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Keep writing my backburner novel

No, not a novel about an actual backburner (although I’ll accept offers for the rights to that idea). I’m talking about the fantasy novel that’s been sitting on the proverbial shelf gathering proverbial dust for about a year now. I’ve mentioned it now and then on Twitter, but Where The Woods Grow Wild has been my sole writing focus for the past 8-9 months.

This novel is looking to be a long one (guesstimating 150k-ish words), so I won’t be finishing it anytime soon. But still. It exists, and I’ll be making slow progress behind the scenes.

Start Where The Woods Grow Wild 2‘s first draft

Yep. WTWGW is getting a sequel. I wasn’t planning on this originally, but I love the characters too much to not write another book with them. Where The Woods Grow Wild will still have a definite ending, a conclusion of its own, but since it’s obviously going to sell a million copies*, why not explore the story world a bit more afterwards?

*please. I’m really poor. 

Develop social media

This is a permanent work-in-progress. 2016 has been great so far in terms of social media growth.

My Twitter following has almost tripled since last August, and I’ve been able to connect with some fantastic new people. Twitter is still my most consistent communication tool, so if you don’t follow already, you’re missing out on my superior humor and intellect some mildly amusing tweets.

I-Have-Cookies-Follow-Me-Cookie-Meme

I experimented with Instagram for a few months, but daily posts are quite taxing on my supply of photo ideas, and I’ve slowed down a bit. I don’t know how you all get hundreds/thousands of followers based exclusively on pictures of your desk, but more power to you, I guess.

To the grand total of 114 people who like and follow my author page on Facebook…yeah, sorry. I hardly ever post there. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Facebook anymore. In terms of platform building it stinks unless you pay them (more) money, and then it stinks a little bit less.

I am, however, working towards starting a Youtube channel. I’ve been experimenting with different video styles, and I think I’ve found one that works for me. I don’t know when I’ll launch it (maybe next month?), but I’m having fun getting ready, if nothing else. Stay tuned.


Anyways, those are my writerly plans for the rest of 2016. Right now I’m going to pencil in a daily schedule to manage it all (no, I’m not sweating), and hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with these plans and not get fired from my two part-time jobs. Pray for me and my caffeine addiction.

In the meantime, have yourself an awesome day, friend!

 

 

6 Things Other Writers Do That I Can’t

Writers are creatures of habit, but each writer has their own particular set of habits. As I watch my fellow writers spin their tales, I’ve noticed them do some things that, for better or for worse, are simply out of my reach.

Here are six things other writers do that I can’t.

Improvise (a.k.a. ‘Pantsing’)

I live and die by the outline. While I firmly believe in allowing the story to grow organically and giving myself room to discover and be surprised by the process, if I try to write a complete story with no framework, no visual indication of where I’m going, I guarantee I won’t finish that project.

Write scenes/chapters out of order

Even though I always know what’s coming next thanks to my rigorous, often obsessive, outlining, I refuse to (and cannot) write the events of my story out of order. It just feels wrong. I know a lot of people have no problem doing so, and for some it even works better. But not me.

Write in cars/trains/planes

I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve written in a lot of different countries. But try as I might, I can’t seem to write as I’m traveling. Writing in the car makes me carsick. Plane seats are too uncomfortable, and there are bound to be at least a dozen different movies playing on people’s screens to distract me. I’ve had minor success writing on trains, but more often than not I end up staring out the window.

Work on phones/tablets

A lot of people do this, and I wish I could because it looks so handy. But I can’t. I can’t keep notes, or write sections, or really do anything writing-related on my phone or tablet. Maybe my thumbs are too clumsy. Maybe the screen is too small. I don’t know. It just won’t happen.

Get up extra early to write

I’m not a morning person. I have, however, disciplined myself to be up at a decent hour and get to work (as long as there’s coffee). What I can’t do is force myself to get up earlier than my schedule dictates and expect myself to focus on the creative process. My brain functions far better late at night than early in the morning.

Write in my bedroom

This is mostly choice, but I can’t write or work in my own bedroom. Perhaps such proximity to my bed is too tempting, or perhaps the bookshelf behind me would be my undoing. Either way, I try to keep my work-space separate from my leisure/relax/sleeping space.


What are some of the things other writers do that don’t work for you? Drop a comment below! As always, I’m super glad you stopped by. Enjoy your day!

The Writer’s Life According To Harry Potter

It’s back, and this time we’re looking at the wonderful wizarding world of writing! Sort of. I’ve lost track of the number of instalments in this blog series, but oh well. The writer’s life according to Harry Potter:

1
When you finish writing that epic climax.
2
Discovering the joys of a thesaurus.
3
When you check your book sales.
4
Gotta weed out those cliches…
5
The dangers of not bringing a notebook.
6
Yet another typo.
7
There are some reasons to go out…
8
When you need reviews for a book release.
9
Giving your characters a heads-up.
10
No, you will not “ship” my characters!

As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All gifs can be found at giphy.com.

Header image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harry-film-logo.png

The rest of the series, The Writer’s Life According To…

Jack Sparrow

Sheldon Cooper

Minions

Gollum

Winnie the Pooh

Toy Story

I’m super glad you stopped by. Subscribe if you want to stay in touch, and have a splendid day!

Top 10 Soundtracks for Writing Fantasy

A few years ago I compiled a list of my top ten favorite soundtracks to write to, but it was on my old site (which apparently has been taken down?), and my thoughts on the matter have changed since then.

This list is not in any specific order, and I really wanted to include clips/previews for each mention, but it turns out WordPress doesn’t let you link or upload videos unless you pay them a monthly fee and your firstborn child (WordPress, you’re great, but come on. Be real.).

Note: I’ve excluded soundtracks that I consider hard to separate from their films due to their iconic status in popular culture (soundtracks such as The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, etc.). 

So here we go!

How To Train Your Dragon 2

The first installment could have easily taken this spot, but HTTYD 2 has some of my favorite songs, so I’m giving it priority. Go check this soundtrack out. It’s beautiful.

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Eragon

Disclaimer: the movie sucks. It’s atrocious. If you respect the books at all, do not watch this movie. However, the soundtrack is pretty good, and there are a few tracks in particular that I think stand out.

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Pan’s Labyrinth

This movie is beautiful. The soundtrack is sublime. Both are substantially depressing. Listen at your own risk.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I never said this list was limited to movie scores. Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time could have also taken the spot, but no Nintendo soundtrack compares to Skyward Sword in terms of emotion and storytelling. Koji Kondo, you genius. If I did this list in ranked order, Skyward Sword would probably take the #1 spot.

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Dinosaur

Didn’t we all love this movie as kids? Well, the soundtrack is as good as you remember it. There’s a wide range of ‘feels’ to cover in this one, so go check it out for yourself.

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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Hans Zimmer will always be one of the greatest composers, and Spirit is, in my opinion, one of his best film scores.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A decent film with a fantastic soundtrack. No, not the BBC show (although, if you have time, you should look that up for a good laugh).

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Ori and the Blind Forest

The second video game score to make the list, it was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. This score in particular has a very magical/mysterious feel to it, and though it’s not the happiest music in the world, it’s still awesome.

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Tarzan

Tarzan is probably my favorite soundtrack of all the Disney ‘classics’, and it has a wide variety of great tracks to fit different moods and situations.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Okay, I really didn’t want to include a Transformers film in this list, simply because they’re terrible and degrading on so many levels. However, a handful of score pieces stand out enough to warrant a mention. Dig around, and you’ll find some gems.

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Of course, this list is based on my opinion at the time of writing this post (with a pinch of universal and undeniable truth). What are some of your favorite OSTs to write (or daydream) to? Comment below!