Musings on Music

I have a mug that says, “God gave us music so we might sing without words.”  I’m not especially religious, but I do find music to be highly influential on my moods and inspirational for my writing.  I like creating soundtracks for my stories, seeking out songs that fit or explain characters or spark scenes.  Whenever I listen to music, if I hear a song that starts making me think of a scene or character, or just gives a certain mood to a story, I jot it down to add to that story’s playlist.

Some writers use music a lot for their writing.  My friend Foxglove Zayuri is like that.  She has massive playlists full of songs that inspire her characters and stories.  Music is very important to her writing process.  I’m not quite as intense; my playlists only have a dozen or so songs for each story.  Some songs may really feel like they match a character perfectly, like “Under the Rose” by HiM matches Scion Argent from The Mariner Sequence.  Others don’t seem to match up in as straightforward a fashion.  For example, I recently heard the theme from the British TV show Wycliffe by Nigel Hess, and that immediately made me think about Astral Rain.  I don’t really know why, but as soon as I heard it, images started pouring through my mind.  It really doesn’t matter how many songs you use, as long as they aren’t forced and inspire you.  After all, chances are no one except you will hear that soundtrack you compiled.

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Creative Origins – ”Astral Rain”

Happy Vernal Equinox (Ostara) to you all!  With the increase in temperature and amount of sunshine, my creative instincts are stirring slightly.  I haven’t quite been able to get back into writing on a regular basis, but at least the interest is slowly returning!

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost April.  Last year around this time I was preparing the script of my graphic novel Astral Rain as my entry for Script Frenzy.  Because of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about Astral Rain recently and thought it might be interesting to share the origins of the story.

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Author Highlight: Charles Dickens

This past weekend I decided to watch BBC’s 2008 rendition of  “Little Dorrit” (screenplay adaptation by Andrew Davies).  I watched all 14 half-hour episodes in one night, and, the next day, went back and watched them all again.  I have never read the book, but after watching this, I want to.  In fact, I’m going on a Dickens kick right now thanks to “Little Dorrit.”

I’ll admit right now that I haven’t read a great deal of Dickens, although I can assure you that he wrote far more and far better works than A Christmas Carol.  I’ve been various film and TV adaptations of his work, and frankly, I prefer watching a good adaptation than trying to read the books.  Why?  Because I’m a modern reader spoiled by modern writers and I rarely have the patience to try to wade through Victorian English prose.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of lovely pieces of dialogue and description in Dickens but it was written for another people in another era and was originally released in serial format to readers.  Their form of television episodes, basically, so the style and language is very different from what I’m used to.  Maybe when I’m older I will be able to appreciate Dickens’ craft better than I do now.

Either way, if you get a good writer like Andrew Davies to update the language just enough to make it accessible and to cut out the dense prose in between the action…then you’ve got one hell of a show.

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Cult and Tone-Twists

I’ve been reading a book called The Cult TV Book:  From Star Trek to Dexter, New Approaches to TV Outside the Box.  It’s a collection of scholarly essays on the phenomenon known as cult television, shows like Star TrekFireflyBuffy the Vampire SlayerBabylon 5, or Battlestar Galactica that gain a dedicated, and sometimes even massive, following of viewers who are deeply engaged in an ever-expanding and enriched reading of the universes, stories, characters, and themes contained within those shows.  I’m fascinated by books and articles like this, particularly when it pertains to media I like or hobbies I participate in.  Several of the articles so far have pointed out that the dedication of fans to these kinds of shows and their willingness to consume alternate media relating to those shows, such as websites, conventions, podcasts, fanfiction, and purchasing DVDs and other merchandise have impacted networks.  Television networks have begun shifting their focus from creating shows that are (usually) insipid enough to appeal to the greatest number of people to focusing on niche markets of smaller, but more dedicated, viewers on networks such as HBO.  The trend that once marginalized cult TV fans is now what helps TV networks make a profit as they design more and more shows to be more like original cult TV and tap into the love fans have for shows that reward attentive viewing.

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