There is only a few more songs left on my list and I hope you enjoyed this musical journey with me. This is the last part of the “Music Inspirations”, but as I usually discover new music and come up with ideas, maybe one day there will be few more to be posted. If you found inspiration while reading or listening feel free to share them in the comments as I love to see different perspectives and ideas.
Song 9 – “Witchcraft” by Pendulum
Morana was created for a storytelling game, but every once a while I think of a novel with her as one of the characters, so I guess I can’t say that this song inspired a story… not yet. But it might turn into one someday as this idea is connected with the SagaCryptom world me and my partner, Inq, are working on.
Morana Ocean Greene is a theoretical witch (yes, I have a soft spot for witches, there’s always one trying to get into my stories) and a victim of her mother, who named Morana after a less know goddess of snow and death, as a second name adding the place of her conception.
Why is she a theoretical witch? Because she knows that magic does not exist and will argue with anyone who claims otherwise. She knows what she is talking about as her family for centuries have been safe-guarding the knowledge of magic, ensuring it will not be forgotten as the magic once existed and might come back to the world again. Morana works in an esoteric shop saving up money for college, and spends her free time with her grandmother, trying to learn as much as she can about the magic. It’s the only way to ensure the knowledge will not be lost as Morana’s mother turned away from the “real” magic and the bitter knowledge that it doesn’t exist anymore, escaping into the illusion of neopaganism and esoteric practices.
Pendulum’s song seems to fit Morana and her story. It’s not only the music, it’s also parts of the video and lyrics. When Morana and her friends discover secrets and plots, there will be killers coming for them and their parents. They will also learn that there are ways of bringing magic back into the world and the black strings from the “Witchcraft” video remind me of one of the energies Morana will use in her curses.
Song 10 – Skyrim OST
This inspiration is an unusual one, as the music not only inspired the story and characters, but also a whole world and original (or at least I hope it’s original) magic system.
The end of 2013 caught me with 2 weeks off booked for Christmas time and no plans on how to use them, so in the end I thought it would be just nice to stay at home and relax, catching up on reading and writing. But in the end, after stressful month before my holidays, I caught myself burnt out and unable to write. My partner had a solution ready: we won’t be writing then, we will be playing video games to get the creativity flowing. Skyrim seemed an obvious choice with the freedom and vast world it offers, so we made new characters (who would remember what the old ones did?) and we started playing.
At the same time I was thinking about writing some epic fantasy, but since this genre can be quite cliché, I wanted to come up with something new and entertaining to write. The ideas leaned towards the dark fantasy again (but with some epic edge!), and whenever I switched on the game, I felt like leaving it on the starting screen, since the main theme already got me into the thinking mode. But the whole music score of the game is very good, so in the end I spent my Christmas holidays in Skyrim, killing dragon, elves and other nasty things, and when two weeks have passed I had an idea for a plot, storyline, magic system and a religious system connected to it, three or four main characters and a world (that was, contrary to the Skyrim’s inspirations, quite hot and full of deserts).
And I was ready to start writing.
Song 11 – “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Vicky Lawrence
Every once a while my partner, who is American, is surprised that I didn’t catch a reference he’d made to some well-known song. The song might be well known, but in America, and it usually comes from the times when I wasn’t around yet or I was still learning to speak Polish, my native tongue. My lack of knowledge has to be remedied, so I get to listen to the song with a comprehensive cultural and linguistic commentary. I can’t complain since I get to listen to some good (though sometimes a bit weird) music that wasn’t available in Poland when I was young.
This is exactly how I got to listen to “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Vicky Lawrence. A song from the times when the lyrics weren’t just a couple of random verses, but they actually told a story. And in this case it’s a story beautifully sung by Vicky Lawrence, so I really liked the song and it gave me idea for Ressia.
Ressia is a girl who escaped from her home colony into the wilderness of the dangerous planet, leaving behind her brother. Years later she’s forced to go back, but she is not that scared little girl anymore, but a confident young woman just like the sister from Vicky Lawrence’s song:
And his cheatin wife had never left town
That’s one body that’ll never be found
You see little sister don’t miss when she aims her gun
And even though the rest of the lyrics doesn’t really match the story that is sci-fi, not a family drama, these three verses were enough to get me going and create Ressia.
Song 12 – “Final Trial” by True Leap
This song didn’t inspire a story, but just like “Castle of Glass” it helped me to write one. I was struggling a bit with a short story I was writing at the time as it was set in the real world, so I actually spent more time researching than I did writing and the question of “Do I really know enough to write about it?” was the one I asked myself constantly. That’s why I needed something to help me focus on the story, something that would keep me writing without stopping all the time to wonder whether I shouldn’t research a bit more on Mayan culture.
I came across “Final Trial” on Youtube during my desperate attempt to find anything to fit the science-fiction story (with a bit of horror into it) I was writing. True Leap’s music seemed to work well as background for writing and helped me to focus on that ancient pyramid in the middle of Yucatan jungle that held very dark secrets… When I finished, the story “Wszyscy jesteśmy bogami” (“We all are gods”) went through some intensive editing and hopefully soon I will be able to publish information on the anthology the story was written for.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.