This month’s AbsoluteWrite BlogChain is: What does your story/character sound like?
Many of the participants are talking about their playlists, or tag certain songs for particular characters. I can certainly understand this inclination. Music sets mood. And my mood, definitely affects my writing. But I cannot afford to purchase nearly as many songs as I would like, and I will certainly not pirate them. I am left with Pandora. I love Pandora. For those of you not familiar with Pandora, it is a free online radio service, with no DJ’s, that only plays the music you want. You subscribe, and begin creating stations. You pick a song, or a band or type of music, and Pandora begins playing music. It picks the songs, based on your feedback. Give a thumbs up or thumbs down, and away you go. I have more than a dozen stations at the moment.
I found a steampunky station on Pandora called Clockworks some time ago, and this is almost exclusively what I listen to when I write. I get a mix of artists, such as: Rob Dougan, Tom Waits, Abney Park, The Last Dance, Gotan Project and Portishead. I get techno, folk and acid-jazz. What I like about this station, is the bohemian feel, the odd assortment of quirky and noir that fits my world so perfectly. Ethan, my protagonist, is a poet and bohemian.
Here is the link to the Clockworks station on Pandora: http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh107135365052288103#/
That being said, I do keep a few songs in mind for certain characters, especially Ethan. Any time I need to get into the feel of the world, or into Ethan’s head, I play either Tom Waits, or Covenant. Wait’s voice and carnival sounds fit Ethan’s bohemian feel, and Covenant’s lyrics makes me want to write poetry. They are both also very dark.
For Seji, I think Dead Can Dance would be fitting. And for Cesar, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.
I have started on a second novel, set in a different world entirely. And I find that the harder, industrial sounds of my Pandora station based on My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult suit the mood of this Deiselpunk/Noir/Slipstream Fantasy perfectly. Not to worry, fans of Ethan, I am also working on a novella set in the Coile. I have not abandoned Lambria just yet.
But all of this, simply sets my mood. There is more to sound than music. There is the sound of my characters speaking. Their voice.
This is important in my novel. Not only is Ethan a poet, but his voice has a hidden power. His poetry can command thoughts, or even alter reality. Ethan’s Voice is important enough to warrant its own discussion entirely. As a child, he was caught by the Inquisition, and branded for careless blasphemy. He was branded on his throat with a rune of Silence. This rune is a word of the Divine Language, and it rendered him mute. An old talismonger-witch helped him change it using blood magic, and now the rune reads Voice instead. This allows him to do much more than speak, his words have meaning and power. And this is how a cowardly and lazy poet manages to survive against mad scientists, deranged crime-lords, ancient snake cults, and even the Inquisition itself.
When I write my characters, I like to pick an actor for each one, and imagine that actor playing the part. This allows me to include mannerisms and speech patterns that I would otherwise miss. I have John Malkovitch playing Father Isaiah, Nathan Fillian playing the retired smuggler Wallace, and Paul Rubens playing Cesar.
For Ethan, this was more important than any other character. I had to imagine how Ethan’s voice sounded. And for Ethan, I picked Heath Ledger. Heath’s infections grin and unruly hair suited Ethan perfectly. I have had countless conversations with Ethan in my head, and I can hear his voice more clearly than any other character. I picture him lounging upon my couch in his loose-limbed way, grinning at me as we talk about plot points of whether or not to kill off- wait, I can’t tell you that.
Ethan’s voice is the single most important part of my novel, without his voice, I would have had to write an entirely different story. And thanks to Heath Ledger, I can now imagine that. It was a sad, sad day when we lost the music of Heath’s voice.
Please visit the other excellent writers participating in this month’s blog chain, and leave a comment.
Thanks to Aheila for organizing it.
Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to the blog chain’s post
Stefanie Gaither: http://stefanie-gaither.blogspot.com/ and direct link to the blog chain’s post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
xcomplex: http://arielemerald.blogspot.com and direct link to her post
Proach: http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
8thSamurai: http://digitalisdreaming.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
vfury: http://helencorcoran.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
Hayley E. Lavik: http://hayleyelavik.blogspot.com
Aimée Laine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog/