Tag Archive: writing


Music as Inspiration

Music is a HUGE part of my life. The right song/soundtrack can make a workout more fun and productive, get me through a long day at work, and even inspire a new story. Recently, not only did a song inspire a story, but my new novel has also inspired my new music project.

First I want to share the song that inspired my latest story–actually two stories. The song is “What Have You Done Now” by Within Temptation.

As I listened to the song I start wondering what could happen to make two people who really love each other suddenly decided they hate each other so much that they wish the other would die. My twisted mind grabbed hold and ran with it. A whole story about two people with supernatural powers finding each other but being pushed apart by differing loyalties just sprang to mind.

The idea then wormed its way into the existing novel, January Rising, that is currently under review with agents. It’s about Dallas based necromancer May Garrison. She spends her days stealing information from the dead for any thug or gangster with enough money to pay. When she uncovers the location of a federal witness, she suddenly finds herself on the run from the largest biker gang in the south. Out of options and with a dead body in the car, she turns to her ex-lover and fellow necromancer Raines.

While writing it I had to think about what would drive these two people apart. That was fun and opened up a whole can of worms for back story and future plots. It also helped inspire a music project. I am working with other musicians, including Dallas-based musician Scar of the Razorblade Dolls, to create a music project also named January Rising. Stay Tuned for that.

What the whole experience reminded me is how important music is to us. Every movie has a soundtrack, everyone owns some kind of music device be it radio or iPod, and any given night you can find some band playing downtown. How has music inspired you?

I may be poking a stick at a beehive here, but a conversation with a fellow writer got me thinking. We both write dark fantasy and horror and currently are shopping projects that fall under the incredibly broad sub-genre known as Urban Fantasy. From the inception of the term, Urban Fantasy meant to refer to any work with a “world within a world” theme. A fairly broad concept, this would include everything from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and E.K. Sedia’s A Secret History of Moscow to Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

Now it seems as though a standard plot/character has hijacked the genre and is now dictating all efforts to produce an original work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Anita Blake, but it seems as though Urban Fantasy can only be one Consultant/Investigator/Enforcer with supernatural powers spending their time kicking monster but while dropping one liners. As editor for Paper Cities, E.K. Sedia tried to bring back the original meaning of the term Urban Fantasy by showcasing a broad range of stories that extended beyond the usual suspects (vampires, witches, werewolves, and zombies) to more unusual constructs that still perpetuated the “world within world” theme. Still, many agents and editors are coming to expect a very specific formula from writers who fall under this category, making it difficult to stand out in a sea of stories about ass kicking loners.

Disclaimer–my current project shifted more toward the acceptable ass kicking paranormal consultant theme, but I did craft it to be different from the norm as did my writer friend with her project. I have other projects manifesting that fall outside of the accepted construct. Does this mean we need to cultivate a new genre, or can Urban Fantasy go back to its more encompassing roots and embrace those writers who may not want to fit into the current formula? Any thoughts from you the masses?