Writers must wrestle with many things when writing characters. Some parts are fun and games while other aspects are uncomfortable, even difficult. How does a writer capture the multitude of emotions characters experience then translate them to the page? Ideally, the writer herself must go there, to the heights or the depths. How a writer goes about that can vary, but for me, music plays a huge part in participating in the emotions of my characters.
Kassia wrestles with a lot of internal demons in The Scribe’s Daughter. Her story is filled with moments when she reaches the depths then finds a way through then out of it However, she isn’t always certain she can do it again with each tragedy that she encounters. This scene describes one such point:
“The water was crystalline, blue and cold, and as I entered it, my skin pricked as if with thousands of tiny daggers. I shivered instantly, yet deeper I sank, wanting nothing less than complete immersion, seeking a cleansing that remained elusive. The piercing sharpness of the cold incited my senses at first, making me feel alive, vibrant. I closed my eyes and dropped completely under the surface of the water then floated there with the world shut out, entombed in the silence of a watery grave. After several long moments, the sharpness of the cold numbed me until I lost all sensation in my extremities, a poetic contrast to the dull heat of pain in my heart.” – The Scribe’s Daughter, p. 176
I found the oeuvre of the band Red to provide a great deal of inspiration for the struggle Kassia has with her internal demons. The song Already Over deals with the hopelessness many people feel when dealing with addiction. A different set of circumstances from our Kassia, but the battle many people fight with depression and internal defeat still resonates. I admit to being a closet rocker, so for me there wasn’t a lot of hardship in listening to Red. Some might consider it torture! For the rest of you, I am also a fan of classical music (Bach, Telemann to Puccini’s operas) and everything in between. Except rap. Sorry, I can’t do rap. Or country music. Okay, so everything except rap and country music.
To listen to the song Already Over by Red and see what I mean as it relates to the passage above, click here. (Psssstttt… turn up the sound.) For those of you really interested, Red follows up with a resolution to this song in Already Over Part 2 here. You have to listen very closely for the subtle shift in lyrics.