Thursday, August 16, 2018

Music as Character

Crazy Fingers by Sue Duda
Writing a novel in any genre means connecting readers to a 'real' world with tastes, textures, smells, sights and sounds. Most authors give us the thunder and crack of the adventure, the whistle of bird calls and the pounding of hooves on a dry dirt road, the deep moans of a lover... you get the idea. But there are particular books that appear over time where the music is so vital it becomes a character unto itself.

One of my favourite of these is Ann McCaffrey's Dragonsong in the Harper Hall Trilogy. What magnificent writing. We root for the hero, Menolly, a girl who longs to play music, but what starts out as a craft turns into a relationship as important as any main character.

Ann McCaffrey's Dragonsong in the Harper Hall Trilogy

Another Fantasy book you may know is The Name of the Wind by Patrik Rothfuss. His main character also has a deep and sometimes tumultuous relationship to his music which is so well developed it has a soul of its own. Then there is Terry Brook with characters in the third book of the Shannara series, Brin and Jair, find, through their voices, that music IS the magic.

Others that come to mind are Alison Croggon's The Naming, about the slave girl Maerad who plays the lyre, and Peter V Brett's The Warded Man.

 Alison Croggon's The Naming,

My interest in these musical novels rises now as I edit my newest series, The Bone Throwers, where the original whistle bones, carved from the skeleton of King Er, become major characters alongside Marcus, Ash and Kaylin. 

"The black-robes carry a sack of bones—whale tooth, horse rib, bird wing, lizard hip, bat tail, water dragon, fossil – carved into whistles of varying pitch and etched with one of the steps to enlightenment. At birth, a Bone Throwers pulls twelve to cast, and how they fall makes up the child’s song, determining if they will live, become savant and raise a phantom, or be sacrificed to the sea…" 

If you want to throw the bones and gimps your own future, tap a black-robe savant on the shoulder. But remember, once set, you can't un-hear it.

Meanwhile, I'd love to know your thoughts on music in your favourite books. Urban fantasy characters, for example, often play contemporary songs on their iPods or laptops. And sometimes, an
Supernatural Underground author Terri Garey
with Jyrki Linnankav of The
69 Eyes
Urban Fantasy series will be so influential, songs will be written about it.

This happened to our own Terri Garey when the Finnish "goth-n-roll" band, The 69 Eyes, read her first UF release - Dead Girls Are Easy - which resulted in their debut single and video by the same name, all inspired by Terri's character, Nicki Styx.

Terri, is there anything you haven't done yet?

Watch the clip here.

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Kim Falconer's latest novel is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel.

Kim also runs where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook. 


Helen Lowe said...

Hey Kim, I love this post and the snippet into the Bone Throwers in your w.i.p. & for reminding me about Terri's fabulous Nicki Styx inspiring a song. :)

Two books from recent years where music has been central are "The Chimes" by Anna Smaill (which won the World Fantasy Award, I believe) in which all important communication is via music/singing and the importance of the Travelling Symphony to Emily St John Mandel's "Station Eleven."

Terri Garey said...

I’m not sure that I can top inspiring a song by a hot group of Finnish goth-n-rollers, Kim! :) It was a pretty awesome experience!