June 23, 2012

Love and Thunder

The inspiration for The White Sail's Shaking, especially the title, began rather with a poem than a song.  It's a fairly well-known poem and I've posted it before, so most of you have probably read it before.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, 
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, 
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
 And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking. 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide 
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, 
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 

 I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, 
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife; 
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, 
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

- sea fever, john masefield

It is not, however, the only poem or song that inspires The White Sail's Shaking; I have a whole heap of those.  Although I have a hard time actually writing while listening to music, there are still many songs that, when I hear them, make my fingers itch to continue writing.  (Especially helpful for times like these, since I would be utterly uninspired otherwise.)  Here are a few on my list.

to the sky (owl city)

There is a great deal of Owl City in this collection; for some reason, perhaps only because I started listening to it early on in the writing of White Sail's, the two are connected in the odd recesses of my brain.  To the Sky was the very first one I heard.  It is Charlie Bent's song, really, but it doubles as inspiration for the first half of the novel - it's too lighthearted and jolly for the second half, unfortunately.  (Happiness?  Goodness, we mustn't have any of that!)

on the heels of war and wonder
there's a dreamy world up there
you can't whisper above the thunder
but you can fly anywhere.

undying love & infinite legends (two steps from hell)

I consider this a terrible name for a band, but they do have beautiful instrumental music - excellent stuff for battle scenes.  That is, in my mind it's excellent stuff, but then when I try to write with the music on my output rapidly decreases...

I'm still here (treasure planet soundtrack)

This song works as a theme for Tip and Charlie both, but I think primarily of Tip.  It suits his attitude (of which he has plenty) at the beginning of the story, and summarizes some of his motives.  Besides, it makes me think of "space" ships and Robert Louis Stevenson.  Both epic.

and you see the things they never see
all you wanted, I could be
now you know me, and I'm not afraid
and I wanna tell you who I am
can you help me be a man?

storm (fernando ortega)

This is the song I chose for Marta ages back when I assigned a piece to each of my characters, but I've found it works for Marta and Tip's relationship as a whole.  It is not a typical love song; but then, theirs is not, I suppose, a typical love story.  The feeling of rest in the lyrics is especially suitable.

it takes the rain between the lines
to know what sorrow finds
the way a cloud divides sometimes
the clearing and the blue
...I love you.

vanilla twilight (owl city)

This is Darkwood's theme; he has a great deal more backstory than is given to him in the book itself, and this song sums it up.  (Except that I'm pretty sure they did not have postcards in 1803.)

and I'll forget the world that I knew
but I swear I won't forget you
oh, if my voice could reach back through the past
I'd whisper in your ear:
"oh darling, I wish you were here." 

if my heart was a house (owl city)

I would just like to point out that, grammatically speaking, it should be "were".  Were a house.  But I'll admit that "was" sounds better in the song, and I suppose songwriters are allowed to take, er, license with the English language.  At any rate, this is another for Tip and Marta - mainly its chorus:

circle me and the needle moves gracefully
back and forth, if my heart was a compass you'd be North
risk it all cause I'll catch you if you fall
wherever you go, if my heart was a house you'd be home.

What about you?  Do you write to music, and are there particular songs that inspire you?


  1. All. The. Time.

    "There's A Place for Us" by Carrie Underwood. :)

  2. One of my favourite aspects of starting a new story is making a soundtrack for it at the beginning and then watching the soundtrack evolve as the story grows and deepens. It's such a delightful part of the process and stunningly inspirational, as well. I love the songs you've chosen for White Sail's -- they make me want to read it even more than I already do, which is saying something!

  3. I really enjoyed reading the musical and poetry inspiration you've had for White Sail's Shaking. They are all great, and seem to reflect your story so well too!

    I think I'd like to do a post like that on my blog sometime. "Into the West", "Gollum's Song" (LOTR), "Going Home" (Gods and Generals) and "Knowing You" (Graham Kendrick) are probably some of the songs that best reflect the main characters of my story... but really, whenever I listen to any inspiring hymns, classical music or movie soundtracks they just give me so much inspiration and imagination, it is quite amazing, isn't it.

  4. Abigail, I enjoyed thinking about this and like your choice of an image.

    Yes, music inspires me. While working on projects, yes, I can and do work to accompaniment, almost always instrumental. Filmscores work beautifully. Some favorites are the scores from the newer Pride and Prejudice, Unbreakable, and Braveheart. I can also work to music from the period about which I'm writing. Actually, music makes me soar. When I write about paintings, I just plod along rationally.

    Best wishes as you complete White Sails shaking! Lord bless you,


  5. Rachelle - I have the somewhat sad habit of listening to a song with the express intent of seeing if it fits my story. I'll enjoy it either way, but I'm always glad when it connects in some manner!

    Megan - I've started collecting songs into a playlist for Tempus Regina; so far, it seems to be more musically oriented than my other novels. Lots of Escala and Blackmore's Night...

    Joy - I think Into the West and Gollum's Song are my favorites from the LotR soundtrack, sad as they are. Good movie soundtracks are splendidly inspirational; I'm particularly fond of The Last of the Mohicans, although I haven't seen the movie.

    Maria - I like the way you phrase that: "Music makes me soar." Unfortunately, I'm often so busy soaring that I can't seem to get my feet underneath me so I can make progress. How bothersome!

    Isn't Braveheart lovely? Again, I haven't seen the movie, but I do listen to the soundtrack at times; I chose "A Gift of Thistles" as a theme song for one of my Wordcrafter characters, in fact. I haven't listened to Unbreakable, though. I'll have to look it up.

  6. Oh.My. I was literally just thinking a couple days ago about how inspirational music is to me when I write. Seriously, Abigail, almost every time you post you write about something I was pondering on only a day or so ago, from how characters think to Villains. It's just a little bit scary. Our minds must turn on a similar circuit ;)

    Anyways! I love listening to music while I write. Something about it makes my thoughts flow so much the better. I prefer movie scores but I can NOT listen to music with singing while I write, it tangles up my thoughts most dreadfully. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite scores to write to as well as some of Hans Zimmer's movie scores. Have you ever tried writing to any of his soundtracks? Many of the songs are ideal for Battle and Action sequences.

  7. Annie - Maybe you inspire me with blog post ideas!

    I do find filmscores easier to write to than non-instrumental music. My playlists are largely made up of instrumental, actually - Peter Pan, Two Steps from Hell, BBC Merlin, instrumental covers. I occasionally listen to Hans Zimmer. We own the Gladiator soundtrack, and I like several of the songs on there.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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