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Plotting: Seek the Tone

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

While working to get unstuck, I’m also still brainstorming. I need a theme song to help me set the tone, and inevitably, the theme song nearly always touches my key story theme in some way. I may not know why or how, exactly, but when I find the song, I know it, and it always proves crucial to the story arc.

Previous posts: Raw Data, Ask the Questions, The Journey, Getting Stuck

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I remembered some key lyrics from an H.I.M. song (Under the Rose, although at the time, I couldn’t remember the title):

I’ve been burning in water and drowing in flames

I love the mixed metaphors here. Water and Fire are opposites. How do you drown (water) in flame (fire)? How do you burn (fire) in water? I don’t know, exactly, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding out in Given in Fire.

I’m still asking the question: What’s the WORST thing I could do? To a people burning in fire day by day, literally carrying fire in their blood, in a land without a single drop of fresh water, the worst thing I could do to them would be…

Give them exactly what they want, sort of. They want water. Water = forgiveness. They lost water because of their devalki (sin). In other words, I need to find a way to drown them in flames and burn them in water.

I’m also making lists of key words and their opposites. Then going back and circling the words that really speak to me. Like:

Keldar Munakuri
fire water
burn drown
honor shame
devalki tellan
fight surrender

I took a fresh page in my composition book and wrote devalki (sin) in one corner and tellan (neverending hope for forgiveness) in the other, then below to form a triangle, my personal key theme word: sacrifice.

Now I’m writing the key song lyrics beneath, starting with burning in water, drowning in flames.

I’ve got a massive playlist looped on Napster right now while I fill in the blanks. Some other potential theme song candidates are:

Faraway by Apocalyptica

S.O.S. (Anything but Love) by Apocalyptica

Hope Vol. 2 by Apocalyptica

something by Whitesnake, because the symbol “white snake” is really speaking to me.

Now here’s the scary/wonderful thing. It seems like I always stumble across the perfect song unexpectedly, by an artist I’ve never before heard before. For Beautiful Death, it was Wings of a Butterfly by H.I.M. Until I saw it listed on someone else’s blog, I’d never even heard of H.I.M. before. Jessica blogged about going to an Apocalyptica concert, and that’s how I found Bittersweet, which I *love*.

So here’s a question for the blogosphere. Do you have a really powerful song you’ve been listening to lately that I should try out? (Lyrics are as important as tone and melody for me.) Who knows, you might have exactly the song I need!

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