Influences of the Imagient King: Music
In today's blog post we are going to talk about some of the influences of my writing that comes from the music I listen to. Those who know me know that I mostly listen to metal, but may not know that I love classical music, film scores, jpop, and a plethora of multiple genres of music. I am mostly a metalhead, and when I am not listening to metal it is mostly jpop. Music has influences me to do a number of things in my writing. It has inspired me to write lyrics for songs. It has influenced names, plots, and ideas. In today's blog post I will just go over a few of them. The first one will discuss Wagner's Ring Cycle's influence on Imagient King's narrative. Next I will discuss how Iron Savior's song 'Way of the Blade' has influenced me to write a stand alone novel. Then, I will discuss how movie and video game scores have helped me write tension, battles, and flow.
The Ring Cycle known also as Der Ring des Nibelungen are well known pieces of opera dramas written by Richard Wagner. Many of my generation and many others known about Flight of the Valkyries from The Valkyries which is the second drama in the set. But, the opera has four pieces and I have listened to them before, and of course everyone from Tolkien especially Sigurd and Gudrun, The Hobbit, ect have been inspired by it in some degree. Mostly because Tolkien and Wagner both drew from the Volsung Saga.
What you might not know is that the first three books from The Imagient King also takes some ideas from this opera. Although, it is mostly due to certain European myths that influenced me also had influenced Wagner. The most influence is that of the opera Siegfried, that is similar to parts of Leonli's character arc. I'm not saying that the whole book series is influenced by Wagner, as it is more influenced by The Wheel of Time and Journey to the West. But, the more I research Siegfried, the more I see a connection between the path that Siegfried took in his journey and the decisions of Leonli in his journey.
Siegfried was much like Leonli was raised not by his real parents. Siegfried was raised by Alberich and Mime. Alberich wants to reforge a sword so that a hero can slay the giant dragon Fafner who has taken the ring and other riches for itself. The ring is that of the Rheingold, told in Das Rheingold. Leonli is raised by Miriam as a blacksmith, but lacks motivation. Siegfried forges the sword that will kill the dragon. Leonli forges Tsuna's weapon, which will slay the demon.
Both of the characters are somewhat mirrored in the sense that they are orphans who are used by plots of their foster parents to gain power. Siegfried is a puppet to Mime and Alberich to gain power and the gold ring. Leonli is a part of a larger conspiracy that will drive his destiny to fruition, backed by Miriam and a few more players.
In the second act of Siegfried, we have Alberich and Mime quarreling over the treasure. We have Siegfried killing the dragon. Although, you could say that this is symbolic in killing the demon. However, it is much more akin to the fight with a much bigger bad guy in the conclusion of the third book.
However, it is the third act in Siegfried that starts to diverge from Imagient King. The second and third Imagient King books take the final act of Siegfried and a bit of The Twilight of the Gods and turn it into a much more positive direction. You see originally, The Ring Cycle was going to end on a positive note, but Wagner changed it into that of a tragedy. The end of Imagient King is more like the end of Journey of the West or Wheel of Time than to that of The Ring Cycle.
Speaking of music, and influence I am not only writing The Imagient King, but some other book ideas. It's interesting how new music can influence ideas and spark the imagination. The best and most recent example is that of how my new stand-alone book entitled at this point, Pit Fight was created or at least how I got the idea for it. It all started with the song, Way of the Blade by Iron Savior and it is quite the funny story.
They don’t believe in the devil
They don’t believe in heaven or hell
The only believe is the battle
Those words and that verse from Iron Savior's Way of the Blade helped throw ideas into my head one day. Originally, the thought some warriors banding together who don't fear death, who don't fear gods or of heaven or hell. That sparked an idea in me one day. The idea started with that of some atheistic warriors who just go and fight monsters. After all this was how the song began.
Armies of monsters are marching
Bloodthirsty inhuman hordes
Straight out of hell they came to destroy
To kill in the name of gods
How can you not be influenced to write an awesome heroic novel when listening to something like that. It stirs the imagination and song writers like Piet Sielck, Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickenson, Kai Hansen who are all good at painting pictures with words, have helped create ideas. Piet Sielk in particular who writes the lyrics and music for Iron Savior inspired me to create a story or at least put thoughts into my head about atheist warriors. However, it was just an idea, and I take ideas and forge them into working concepts.
The idea of atheistic warriors was abandoned for gladiators. I had a few places where gladiators were commonplace in my giant world building mythos of Computus lore. But, where to place it in the time line that all was difficult to decide. Until, I started reading Malazan and talking about diversity and would create the story for Pit Fight which is pretty much Spartacus starring a Heroic Fantasy protagonist who is from a very African-influenced society called the Akosi.
The Akosi needed research so I had to ask one of my friends for information on Ugandan culture which I decided to be the basis oft the Akosi. A warrior culture derivative by Ugandan warriors, but a bit of my own fantasy flavor mixed in. The Akosi were a culture of imperialistic and martial warriors who wielded steel and rode on war elephants and rhinos.
This all started and was helped by one song, and thanks to this one song I know have a book idea. The book will be worked on next year, and I already have a ton of notes for this project. It will continue to work on it and make it the best book I can make. But, it all is thanks to being inspired by that Iron Savior song.
Then there is what I listen to when I write, which is mostly theme music from video games and scores from films/tv shows. I mostly do this because just like film scores influence a film's sense of tension and tone, it can help a book as well. I know a lot of writer use it for a variety of reasons such as clearing your thoughts and helping for focus. Those are all reasons I listen to it as well ,but I think it helps with tone and addressing pace as well.
You see I understand why various films, video games use music to add emotion to a scene. It adds something that you don't get from the script or from the actors. It helps clarify certain motifs in a written scene that can't be shown visually. It helps tie together something that isn't there.
I think that helps if writers use this idea in a manuscript for a novel. I think it helps add an extra voice to a piece. I'm not saying that all authors have to use this technique, but it is quite helpful for at least me, to write a scene.
For example, if I want to write a battle scene. I am probably going to either have a video game boss battle theme, or a faster classical piece playing. It helps with tone and I can imagine the battle in my head and with the help of the music create a tone and work on the pacing of the battle to the music. It doesn't mean I'm limited by the music, but I use the music to help construct the scene in my head and then write what I imagine. I am literally using the music to manifest my thoughts into paper. If that makes a bit more sense.
Music for me is not superficial, it is a very important part of my life. As you can see I am influenced by the music I listen to. Be it metal, classical, opera, or whatever. It helps me plan, it helps me mange life and it has always been there for me. It is why these influences won't just help me on my journey to be a better author, but a better person.
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A.L. Hornbeck, historian, author, metalhead, and all around geek.