Tag Archives: writing-in-the-negative

Writing to music

I’ve mentioned before that I always write to music, but I always assumed my choice of music was a random thing based on whatever I was feeling at the time. Today however, I realised that my subconscious always prods me for a specific kind of music, depending on what I am writing.

When I was madly typing Innerscape, my Nanowrimo 2012 project,  my music of choice was Elysium, by Jo Blankenburg. Elysium is epic and passionate but contains undertones of the romantic [at least to me]. However for Vokhtah, the music had to be by Two Steps From Hell. Now that I’ve started working on book 2 of Vokhtah, I automatically went back to Invincible and Archangel, the two public albums released by Two Steps From Hell.

Both Invincible and Archangel feature big, epic, passionate music but most of the tracks are very martial. Those tracks evoke the Vokh – powerful, violent, calculating, deadly. The softer tracks conjure the iVokh, who can be just as calculating and deadly as the Vokh, but there is a softer side to their nature as well. This softness is considered to be a weakness, and so it is hidden, controlled, sublimated, but  it is there. Showing it is the problem.

In writing the iVokh, I had to hint at this hidden softness without turning them into human analogs. The solution was to write their emotions in the negative,  a bit like the negative image of a photograph. For those young things who only know about digital photography, old fashioned film uses a negative which reverses the colours so black becomes white and so on. If you look at a negative, even familiar faces look very different. And that was what I tried to do with the iVokh, juxtaposing the callous things they could do against the callous things they chose not do.

Writing inside out is rather hard to do, and it was not until I discovered Two Steps From Hell that I could do it without constantly second guessing myself. The music allows me to feel the controlled passions my characters are not allowed to express, while, by some strange alchemy, the words that end up on the page evoke their conflicting duality. At least I think they do. 🙂

So, having put that small insight into words, I will now make another cup of coffee and sink back into the music of Two Steps From Hell – my version of heaven.




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