"The hills are alive with the sound of music"*

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on December 5, 2010 in Family, Language, Writing |

I may be stating the obvious here, since all my blog titles are song lyrics, but music is important to my writing. Sometimes it’s just a lyric or two that inspires me, but other times a whole song speaks to a scene on which I’m working or a character I’m developing.

In my story Elixir Bound, there’s a scene where the main character, Katora, floats above the forest via a magical binding (yup, it’s a fantasy). Katora normally can’t fly and it’s a malevolent creature that binds her, but for a minute she feels a rush of adrenaline that gives her an intense high and sense of freedom. When I think about this part, I always hear the long musical beginning of the live version of Naveed/Life by Our Lady Peace (pretty much my favorite band of all time). This song gives me the same kind of feeling I imagined Katora having when I wrote that scene.In my reimagining of The Little Mermaid, one of the main characters Poe is in love with his best friend, but he thinks she’s never going to love him back. Naturally, his song is Jason Mraz’s If It Kills Me. The lyrics “Well, all I really want to do is love you/A kind much closer than friends use/But I still can’t say it after all we’ve been through” are such a perfect description of how he feels.

And then there’s this new idea that’s been percolating in my imagination for a few months now. This one is rife with musical inspiration. The original idea popped into my head while I was listening to Godsmack’s song Voodoo. I heard the lyric “Never did I wanna be here again/And I don’t remember why I came” and a whole scenario played out in my brain like a mini-movie.

Then I realized (as I often realize when I think I’ve had an inkling of an original thought) that my idea was just a YA dystopian ripoff of The Bourne Identity with a female teenager as Bourne. So I decided to actually read the book instead of watch the movie yet again (really, who can get enough of Matt Damon as a reluctant assassin?).

Anyway (I do digress), that’s not the only song that has inspired this new story. The main character (who may or may not have a name that was inspired by the lead sing of the aforementioned favorite band…I haven’t decided if it’s the right one…but who does have a nickname of Black Butterfly) has a past that she can’t remember, but may somewhat be described by Civil Twilight’s song Soldier.

And seeing as the opening scene of this story was inspired by a song, it’s fitting that the closing scene was also inspired by a song: Linkin Park’s Waiting for the End. Mind you, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this new story, but I only have bits and pieces of it scribbled in some notebooks. The rest is all in my head…for now. I have a couple off other projects that are taking priority over this one, but it’ll get written down one day soon.

I’ll leave you with something that is a bit musical, but will probably not inspire anyone (except maybe to run to bed and cover your ears with a pillow). It’s my family’s Thanksgiving Day rendition of a scene from The Sound of Music!

*Oscar Hammerstein II

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  • Nautilus II: Electric Boogaloo says:

    Well, I never heard of any of those songs, but it was interesting to hear how they influenced your thinking/writing process.

    I've also often had a mini-movie form in my imagination when listening to new songs, but I just let them play about in my head.

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Fun name, Nautilus! I was thinking that some readers may not know the songs that influenced me, so I tried to provide links to them.

  • Nautilus III: 3D says:

    So you'll want to pick the music for the films based on your books, then?

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    I like the way you think big, Nautilus! Maybe someday there will be movies…one can never dream too big.

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