Saturday, May 28, 2011

Soundtrack for the Third Night

I chose to name the chapters of the Third Night after specific songs that I felt represented the mood of the chapter. When I was heading the chapters with quotes, I used the lyrics from each song. When I went back and removed the quotes (as well as the attributions) a lot of context for the chapter headings got lost.

I'm still trying to decide if I want to open my chapters with quotes or not (it's a struggle I'll talk about in another post). While I grapple with that issue, I can at least put the context for my choices here.

"Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix: This one should be a fairly obvious choice. What better way to introduce a tale about a drug trip than "Purple Haze?" The fuzziness of the song complements Gaven's fuzziness after waking up with a mild concussion from his adventures in the previous night. At this point, Gaven doesn't yet realize he's been dosed with the Dreamlily, so any effects he's feeling at this point he ascribes to having been beat up and then treated by strange medications. He's about half right. The drug hasn't hit him yet.

"Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie: This is the chapter that introduces Jereth Dythanus, and I wanted to pick a song that seemed to encapsulate the flamboyant elf. I modeled Jereth after Jarath The Goblin King from "Labyrinth," so I wanted a Bowie song to help the connection. "Ziggy Stardust" just seemed to fit like a glove. I also considered songs from the actual Labyrinth soundtrack, but none of them were really about the character of Jareth. So as much as I would have loved to use "Dance Magic" or "As The World Falls Down," I couldn't justify it. Though I might use "Within You" as a Villainous Breakdown song sometime.

"Play Me Backwards" by Joan Baez: Ah, the introduction of Aelia, as well as the first hints that something is very wrong in Lair Dythanus. This chapter represents Gaven's first brushes with the dreamlily visions as the drug starts taking hold. However, it's also opening him to psychic impressions left in Miir (this will be important later). Gaven doesn't know it yet, but he's gained a new ability--the ability to actually see The Shadows and their effects without them having to manifest themselves to him. This is very much a blessed with suck sort of power. The song I chose here is about finding the dark truth behind a hazy veneer of normality (the character in the song is undergoing repressed memory therapy and digging up "memories" of being in a Satanic cult as a child). I thought it fitting.

"Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" by The Beatles: The first of (many) Beatles songs I chose for this night. I'm an unabashed Beatles fan ever since I was introduced to them through my mom's vinyl collection, so there will be many, many more Beatles songs referenced. And this was off one of the later psychedelic albums, so it fits even more. I wanted to find a song that suggested a dark, depraved carnival. There's a lot of such songs out there, but since this part of Le Cirque d'Aberrations is less dark than what will come later, I felt this song would be the best among the choices.

"Helter Skelter" by The Beatles: This was the point where Le Cirque gets very dark. I wanted more confusion, heavy riffs, and creep. I chose Helter Skelter because of the Manson Family connection. As a companion to the previous chapter, this worked well.

"How To Make A Monster" by Rob Zombie: This chapter went through several name changes. This is the downside of using the "name chapters after songs" technique...sometimes the name you want just doesn't work. I originally wanted to call this chapter "Wheel of Fortune" because of the dilemma The Jester presents to Eric. The two songs I found with that title were unsuitable. The first was a poppy 80's thing that just did not fit the mood of the chapter at all. The second was a piece from the "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men's Chest" soundtrack, which, while good, had no lyrics to quote (this was when I was still using chapter quotes, and part of the reason I gave up on them). I waffled about for a bit, then decided to go with "How To Make A Monster," which described what was going on in the chapter, had a depraved carnival/old horror movie vibe, and fit the tone. I'm not perfectly satisfied with the choice, but Meh. It works.

"Blue Jay Way" by The Beatles: Another Beatles track. I chose this one for the tone and the lyrics about being unable to find one's way. This was very much a tone-based decision. I'm going to be heavily revising this chapter, but the theme of being lost and wandering will remain.

"Gallows Pole" by Led Zepplin: Sometimes I choose a song because I like it. This was one of those cases. I might have to change the song to better fit the tone, but this was written before I'd decided on the Hangman being one of the Shadows Gaven would have to deal with. Still, it's about allies providing help but ultimately failing to deliver escape from peril, and that suits the ending of this chapter quite well.

"Welcome To My Nightmare" by Alice Cooper: I really wanted to use this as a title chapter, but it worked so much better as the name of the whole section. This whole part of the Third Night is a waking nightmare for Gaven. The title reflected that, and is a good song to boot. Welcome to my nightmare. I think you're gonna like it.

"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane: I chose this for the same reason I chose "Purple Haze." The drug references, trippy images, and the Alice in Wonderland vibe of traveling from one state of mind to another just worked so very, very well. You'll notice a lot of drug references in this night...that's intentional.

"Break On Through (to the other side)" by The Doors: This was chosen because it's an active song, and it's Gaven's first battle with the Shadows. It seemed to fit Gaven's struggles. I suppose it also foreshadows the chapter "One" that comes later, which wasn't intentional but is fine with me...I like happy coincidences.

"Smoke On The Water" by Deep Purple: Mostly I chose this because I like the song. This is another title chapter I'm going to wind up changing later. As it is, the only connection it has to the action in the chapter is the reference to fire in the sky, tying it in to the volcano that Gaven and Aelia watch.

"One" by Metallica: Finding a song to fit this chapter was difficult at first. This was a very difficult chapter for me to write. Being trapped somewhere alone and unable to contact help is one of those deep primal fears I have buried away in my subconscious. This chapter took a long time to complete partly because I feared I wouldn't find a way for Gaven to escape. I chose this song after examining the's about a guy who is trapped inside his body after his limbs and face are damaged by mortar shells, leaving him concious but unable to see, hear, smell, move, or otherwise interact with the world in any way. The bleakness of the song is something that echoed Gaven's situation (and my own primal fear of being reduced to locked-in syndrome, a coma, or dead and existing in eternal darkness and somehow being aware of that fact) well enough to be put front and center.

"Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles: The chapter where Gaven flips out entirely. It starts out low and peaceful, but there are hints of disturbing mixed in. I chose this song because the structure of it follows the action of the chapter: Gaven cuts up his hand, then showing up to the suddenly re-appearing Aelia, then moves to Gaven getting sedated and treated, then Gaven flipping out entirely and attacking Aelia because he's gone all paranoid. In Gaven's case, happiness is a cold knife.

"Die, Die My Darling" by The Misfits, though I'm thinking of the Metallica cover here: I chose this song because of Gaven's threat to Aelia here. Gaven is not running on all cylinders, and this is an active song that mirrors Gaven's crazy as he holds the knife to her throat. Aelia is able to break him out of it before he crosses the Moral Event Horizon...I had trouble writing this because if Gaven had actually harmed Aelia here I would have lost all sympathy in writing him, which would have killed the book.

"Revolution 9" by The Beatles (noticing a trend?): The crazy comes back. This song is a collage of noise and random, and because Gaven winds up in a madhouse, that's what I wanted to convey.

"One Step Closer"by Linkin Park: I chose this for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's a song about getting close to that edge of madness, which is the theme of this whole section. And it also serves as an echo of the action, as the Wall that talks to Gaven is taking him closer to understanding and enlightenment about his situation and the nature of the dangers he faces. He's one step closer to the edge of understanding...and then Despair hijacks the voice and attempts to rape his mind with another Hannibal Lecture, driving him one step closer to breaking down entirely and giving up, at which point Despair will have him.

I'll be editing this post when I have more chapters to talk about, but here are my thoughts for now.

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