Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creating a character... the villain.

I have a sort of educational purpose here, or at least I feel I can share some of the knowledge I have within the general area, as I think more people should write...
My professor (one of the cool ones...he's Danish) told me yesterday that everyone has at least one book inside, so get cracking and get it out. There's not even close to being too many books in this world.

Obviously I prefer the imaginative stories, so my entries will focus on (in this case) the villain of a story I would like to read. But the emotional part could be transferred to any kind of fiction...or non-fiction for that matter.

First of all, and this is the most important point I can possibly make, make your characters, villain or hero, three-dimensional.
A man that is only evil does not work.
Having said that I think I might correct myself a bit as Sauron is pure evil. But he's never in the action more than like a symbol of the evil happening all over Middle Earth. His evil henchmen do all the villain-work. And they seem to have more than one dimension. Though I think Saruman a bit one-dimensional (and I'm aware of the trouble I can get myself into by claiming such a thing), but he has a past where he used to be a better man, according to Gandalf. But the evil of Saruman is almost as one-dimensional as that of Sauron. Sauron was always this malicious creature, from his creation (read Silmarillion for details). He never had a fragment of good in him. And to convey a great character (I'm about to contradict myself here again) he or she has to have several levels of personality. Following this advice, Sauron isn't a very good character, but again I think he is more the symbol of evil rather than a character. Morgoth started out as a good character (ish), and he is probably based on Lucifer the fallen angel from The Bible. Sauron just continued his work, representing The Devil... the symbol of evil, tempting and forcing to do evil in his name.

Back to the villain. When I wrote about building a character earlier, I told you to have the background story ready when you start writing. You don't have to spell out every single detail in the novel, but it's important that you know. You as a writer, or a storyteller, have to know where your characters are coming from, and also have a pretty good opinion on where or what they are going towards.

Is he a villain like Magneto? One with a terror in his past, a cause and good intentions?
Is he a villain like The Joker? One with no cause, no reason other than anarchy, and only trying to convey chaos?
Is he a villain like any of the traditional villains in James Bond, for instance, with a lair hidden far away, pools with sharks in them, instruments of destruction, and evil plots destroying the earth in one way or another?
Know your characters no matter their agenda.

When mentioning the villain, I also have to give some attention to "The Trickster".
And I'm not referring to Loke from Norse Mythology at the moment, though he would serve as a great example of a trickster character.
The trickster is a character who will do something that shoots the story off into a different direction. His reasons for doing so are simply to see what would happen if he did. He's not necessarily evil, or doing these things out of spite or a need to do bad things. He's doing them because he has an ability to check out the mechanics of the world. No one seems to be stopping him, and he's allowed to continue. If you have seen Once Upon a Time, the television show, you'll know that Mr. Gold is a trickster. He plays both sides. And you believe in him in both situations, or you actually distrust him equally in both situations.

Why do people do the things they do? Evil for evil's own sake is always very hard to comprehend, and so if a character is to do evil deeds just to be evil, then you better have an explanation for yourself (at the very least).

Emotional depths are also very important.
Let me repeat that.
Emotional depths are also very important.
Any writer writing a story just surfing on top of every emotion will not be able to dive deep enough into his or her material, leaving the story (and not only the characters) one-dimensional.
To convey true emotions, you actually have to map out how the various emotions really feel.
How they really, really feel. This might mean going soul searching...and that can be scary...

Anger. How would you describe a person so angry he could kill?
Sadness. How would you describe a person so sad he or she can't see any light?
Happiness. How would you describe a person so happy they can't think straight? So happy they can't stop crying ( a little paraphrase of Sting there)? So happy they are floating on air?
Afraid. How do you describe a person so afraid that they fear for their lives?

Let's give these a quick Much Ado About Shakespeare-try... (please note that all of my examples are just that, they are written quickly, here and now, and without much depth, and I'm sure you all could out-do me if you gave this a good try...)

"He could feel the tasmanian devil growing inside of him, it was growing like a hungry raging animal trying to eat him up from within only to get the food it needed. He tried to keep it all inside, but he felt like an accident waiting to happen. Sooner or later he would burst, and the poor people surrounding him at the time would be sorry. His explosion would be a cataclysmic event."

I'm not sure if this conveys anger, but surly some sort of aggravating emotion.

"She was lying on the sofa feeling as if drowned, as if water was enclosing her, stopping her body from functioning. Her chest felt so heavy, and the thought of drawing her breath one more time, simply to stay alive, felt like the hardest task in the world. She could not cry the tears she needed to cry, the only thing she managed to do was lie on her sofa, under water, drawn down to the bottom from the weight of her chest."

"He felt elevated from these new emotions awakening. He had never in his life felt like skipping. Now it seemed like the best idea in the world, skipping along the road, showing the world his newly awakened emotion. He wanted to scream, to let the entire human race hear his joy."

"She could hear her blood pumping, like the noise that could not be heard. She tried to breathe without sound, but the more she tried to stay silent, the more she heard her pulse pounding through her veins. Her hands became numb and she felt on the verge of fainting, but she managed to stay put, not revealing her whereabouts."

Now, you might note that I haven't spelled out in pure words the emotion I'm conveying, and you shouldn't. Try describing anger without using the noun anger.

Good writing, people. I believe in you!


Monday, February 27, 2012

The beauty that is Marillion

By now it's no secret that I'm in love with the guys in Marillion. They have completely bewitched me, and my creative journey has escalated as a result. Being a part of something so grand is a frightful delight.

I have listened to them for a few years. And having said that, I also need to say that I have actually known about them for at least fifteen years. I was once married, and my ex had a thing for Marillion, old school. Though, he hadn't many superlatives about their new lead singer (and I can't for the life of me figure out why...because he liked it now, or so he said, when I let him listen to a few of the tracks), so I didn't bother to check it out...then.
I'm actually glad about the fact, because the emotional vastness of the journey I took when I really listened, is an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world. And I don't think I was ready for it then. I had to wake up!
Like I said I had listened to them for a few years, fallen asleep with them on my ears, probably making sure they reached the centers of my brain that needed to be reached. All though at this time I was just enjoying the ambience. And, yeah, I liked them, but I wasn't head over heels.

But then, one day, I was listening to Essence (a brilliant song from the "Happiness Is The Road - Album). I don't quite know what happened, but I started listening to the music as if it was coming from within.
Now there was no turning back, ever.

A little background, and to the family I'm about to "out", I do beg your pardon. I love you to bits...
I have a brother who is, according to himself, the musical expert in our family. Now, my mother is a singing teacher (one of the good ones), my father is a teacher of music at a higher level, I myself am a singer, and my brother is a talented guitarist and singer and songwriter. So, he would have some competition claiming something like this within the family, as we all are equipped with strong feelings on the subject.

But I fear he's right. And coming from a stubborn woman, that is saying something.
My father only ever listens to classical music (but believe it or not, he actually liked one of the songs I'm describing'll know the one.)
My mother sings along with whatever is on the radio, though she prefers opera. She has a song for everything, and is open-minded and generous. But I think her favorite is something French or Mozart, maybe Verdi.
Leaving me? What about my musical taste? I'm a product of all of this. I'm trying to steer clear of any obstacles and find what makes me happy. Not easy.
I have been through my Michael Jackson phase, my Abba phase, my U2 phase...several smaller phases, I have had my classical phase, I even had a musical theatre phase...not proud of that one. And every phase made me believe I had seen the light. So imagine my surprise when I really did see the light. I had no doubt that I had found my true match... I have no doubt that I have found my true match.

Being divorced and lonely I looked for comfort in music and films. So I asked the only one I could think of, the only one I truly trusted to help me find a path. I asked my little brother.
He has claimed, for a long time, that the best music he knows is the one he hasn't heard yet (paradox?). He's trying his hardest to make me be a part of this notion. But when I find something I like, I stick to it, and I remain loyal, so I'm quite hard to convince (maybe this is why my father can't enjoy anything written later than the Forties, I have this from him).
So, again, I think my brother may be right in claiming he's the musical expert of the family. He goes through a lot, a lot of music, and he is always open for new things. I think this is what makes a great musician, and also a great listener.
He showed me the music closest to my heart...or actually the music powering my heart.
Now, I liked songs like Afraid of Sunlight and You're Gone. But, as the oracle (my brother) informed me, those were the hits. I'm not, to this day, quite sure what he implied. Should I not enjoy the chart-music? The songs above are brilliant, though. The light/dark metaphor in You're Gone is just so achingly beautiful that I could cry...
Back to Essence...

What is so incredible about this song? I had listened to it many times, and I liked it. Only this particular time, it was as if I heard it for the very first time, and the ground was swept away from under me. I felt I was floating on air. I got chills all over my body, and I suddenly got a feeling I could move on in life. That I was finally able to reach whatever goal I may have had, or were to get.

So, Silje entering iTunes, buying all the albums she didn't have yet... Boy was I in for many treats.
I listened, I wrote (you who read this blog know that I meddle in the art of writing...), and I loved every second of every song...
Only I had another high to come...

I had to buy an album called Anoraknophobia because Marillion had a vote on their facebook page on the best song from this album (go sing in). I didn't know, so I had to buy it to figure it out.
I listened in awe.
First you have Between You and Me. Like.
Then you have Quartz. Like that too...ish.
Then Map of the World. Sweet tune, like as well.
When I Meet God. This is a diamond. The lyrics are so deep, and so beautiful, and so spot on "What kind of mother leaves a child in the traffic...". The song is melancholic and uplifting at the same time. I might now add that I also had the idea of a female God in one of my novels, but claiming such a thing might be a difficult one to prove...
And all the time Steve's voice is like velvet around my soul.
I thought it couldn't get better, I mean getting better means they are true musical magicians. So I voted...
When I Meet God is my favorite song from this particular album

But the fact is, they are true musical magicians. They are "Out of this world..." Because now comes this blues-tune, and I'm nodding along as anyone would, really. Not at all aware of what's about to hit me. The verse, the refrain, the verse... refrain...They play beautifully... He sings, beautifully.... "As England faces the winter..."
I lost my breath.
I stood there gasping for air, feeling someone had gone into my soul and written the music from which I came. The music making my mind able to create...
The song was beating with the rhythm from my heart, and I could feel something warm at the back of my eyes. I started to cry.
I wasn't sad, I was laughing and crying at the same time.
So I had to, sorry guys, I HAD TO vote again.
My favorite song from this album is The Fruit Of The Wild Rose.

I also, almost equally enjoyed This Is The 21st Century, and I do (trust me on this) have an intriguing tale on how I reacted when I heard that song the very first time, but I think it's a bit inappropriate... anyway, by then I didn't dare to vote a third time. But there you go! They told us to vote only once, and I seemed to be unable to, as almost every single song was and is significant. This counts for all of the albums, I might add... but I get a feeling they are improving like a fine wine. I can't wait for their new album...

I'll leave you with the sweetest of tunes called Go! It first appeared on, and the version there is just as magical as the one from Cadogan Hall. But the one from Cadogan Hall was the second song to change my life... And it is a powerful display of musical abilities beyond divine. This is the song that calms me down. "It only takes a fraction of a second to turn your life upside down". Well, you said it, Marillion!

You could do far worse than giving them a listen or five (and if you go on their official web site, you can order a CD called Crash will give you a peek into their world with some of the highlights. And believe me when I say there are many highlights). You'll enter, if you are perceptive to this, a world where magic still exists in each single chord, where the music is designed to make you reach a higher level of serenity and musicality than any of the so-called popstars ever could convey, and where bliss and courage is floating on top of every note.
But what is the most special thing about Marillion is their incredible contact with their fans, and also their fan's incredible contact with each other. It is like having a family from all over the world.
Go to their homepage for more information, it really is a better way of life. The link is listed at the top.
I believe there are people placed on this planet to inspire humanity.
The guys in Marillion are the leaders of this precious company.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My collection of sonnets.

I might have mentioned that I meddle in the art of writing... And among other things I enjoy very much in the literary world are the sonnets... That might have shone through here on my blog as well (if I'm not much mistaken, think this is my fourth entry on sonnets... They really are powerful poems.). I have actually tried writing a few. And by popular demand I'm going to present a collection of them here, now...

They are, in case you wonder, all Shakespearean sonnets, and sort of iambic pentameter.

Years of wasting and boredom in my past
Sadness, loss of lover, no dreams ahead.
Falling to the bottom where I at last
retrieve my life and joy, no more the dead.
My mind blossom in this language spoken,
more through poets stories preserved all years.
Rise as Phoenix, though my heart was broken,
every day confronting all of my fears.
Beauty in the child, his eyes blue and bright,
the only thing to keep me in this state,
my world of dreams is accessed day and night,
I steer creative ships towards my fate.
The Swan of Avon, standing on his stage,
smiling, smart! I write yet another page.

The next one is a part of something bigger. This is a part of a novel I'm writing at the moment, and this is the hero finally taking charge...

 - From ancient times these realms did fight in wars
Evil disguised in masks of human kind.
Abominations boarded peaceful shores.
Their ”noble” cause devouring conscious mind.
I stood idly by, observing the fights.
The hour is now when I take up arms
defending humanity, the soul's rights
to live, to love, to laugh - prosperous charms.
Your idea will fall, though well intended,
with no more words a savage world will rise.
You stand alone, the world is defended.
I tell you, Eworc… MY WORDS will suffice.
I wake the world with every word I write,
I AM the muse who gives invention light.

Then I will include another sonnet from another one of my novels... This is a prophesy.

" The sign has been given to you from afar,
life on this planet will perish too soon.
An empty world, an invisible star,
away! You have until your last full moon.
Bring life into thought, bring life into mind,
the soul of humanity must not fall.
Change in your life, now your quest is to find
a way to survive, a cure for us all.
Survival means trust what people forgot,
hear songs from the heart, see masters in art,
imagine your path, linger you must not.
Hurry now, Michael, you must play your part.
You are our chosen, you know this is true.
God’s blissful planet will die without you."

And in the end I'll leave you with a sonnet I wrote last night...
The sonnet, the important poem... 
Here, telling a story in fourteen lines...

In desperate depths Creative Soul stood deep
A shadow crept upon her longing heart.
They anticipated the hill so steep,
they would all tell her about her new start.
Creative Soul felt as dead and hollow,
betrayed, forgot by the love she thought real
No bliss ahead in the years to follow,
the love of a child was all she could feel.
Then the Voice Of Light turns life up-side down.
The Voice vibrates as the sound from her mind.
Sleepless tales springs from her creative crown,
Painful as pleasure, at last she'll unwind.
Surrounded each day by angelic sound,
The Voice Of Light has swept her off the ground.


Caliope transformed in Voice Of Light.
A solitaire path inspiring them all.
His epic music enlightens the night
His magical voice will soften each fall.
His passion in music will reach so far,
a boy and his lyre, a girl’s sweet harp.
Lingering, his inspirational star,
echoes his voice in harmonies so sharp.
Creative Soul, softly, hears Voice Of Light
His whisper, like thunder, will make her see
Courage is his, but she the one to fight
The voice whispers; “You’ll find courage in me.”
Taking up arms through stories from her heart
The Voice Of Light granted her a new start.

Creative Soul broke her bounds, at last free
Scared for her future, feeling winter’s cold,
Voice Of Light guided her gently, now see;
- Look for the truth in the masters of old.
Leaving her “cage” for the world of the real,
leaving behind what kept her in a haze.
awakening senses making her feel
the divine presence, she could see his face.
I’m no longer a ghost from my own past,
stronger than the foundations of the earth.
I know I have the strength to make this last,
finally feeling my true, deepest worth.
The Voice Of Light was looking straight at me
His wisdom; “Only Love Will Make You Free.”

Wishing you all inspiration and prosperity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Special woman...

I have a friend who is the most special woman I know.
I have known her since I was twelve. We were the outcasts of our class. We were the ones in love with dragons, adventure, witchcraft, and eventually Tolkien, U2 and Val Kilmer... Aw, Val Kilmer...And Bono... and Alan Rickman, and Hugh Jackman, and Viggo Mortensen... All the times we slobbered over the unreachable dream hunk, precious memories. Playing guitar...badly as such. Coming along, singing in a poor thing... London and the Barbican theatre where we discovered Shakespeare together...and dubbed Musicals a poor choice of culture... we were very young at the time, and still we distinguished between art and crap...
Dublin, and that rather wild night in Temple Bar...Good Lord, we were crazy...
Talking to Bono's gardner... The U2 concert...
Our anti-Olympic soaré...

She is the only one I know who understands and fully respects and actually likes the craze that is my character... Other people in my life have a tendency to snigger, though friendly intended (and I do not take me on this one...), at me when I become my true self.
Maybe because I am an emotional person, and when I feel strongly about something I feel very strongly, and for people used to putting a lid on emotional highs and lows it might be a bit strange...even frightening... I can see that. But what kind of world is it when everyone has to go around being in the same state of mind all the time. I am finally, after years of being a shadow of what I used to be, coming to my senses...and now there is no stopping me!
She's a nutter, you might think, and you would probably be right.
But I am so lucky to have that one person in my life who is behind me one hundred percent, and she doesn't even snigger a tiny bit when I tell her about the latest craze, actually she understands and can relate. And yet, she grounds me!
If she was my only friend in the entire world I would still consider myself lucky. Now I am in the fortunate position of having many important people in my life, and I have a lot of support from both my family and my friends.
But only she knows my true heart. I have shared the deepest and most secret silly stupid things with her, and she always comes through. Always!
In fact, should I happen to do things she doesn't understand she always surprises me in a positive way. She tells me that she admire my imagination and ability to get lost in my dreams... Can anyone have a better friend?

I truly value our friendship, sweetie... Live long and prosper... I love you till the end of time...
And check out Marillion :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is it possible to fall in love with a voice?

If so, then I have done just that...
I might suffer from having been alone too long, but I don't think this has clouded my insight. Well, if I'm completely honest, maybe a bit. But I'm going to stick to the fact that I remain sane, at least as such.

I think it was three years ago, when I got my first ipod, that my brother gave me all this music (I have bought it I believe in buying art, making sure the artists can stay busy). A lot of this music were my guilty pleasures, U2, The Corrs... yeah, I have a pop alibi. But he gave me Muse, Genesis and Marillion among other prog-bands (and just adding a small note here, I didn't get The Corrs from my brother...I think he would resent me claiming such a thing). Many of his suggestions I rejected, as he kind of miffedly pointed out. But then my reply was this; come on, the two bands I love most in the entire world is because of you, that has to count for something? He agreed it did...
I started with Muse as I knew them a little more than I knew Marillion, Genesis I already knew and liked... And the way I listen to music now is quickly through it at first, then I go about it quite systematically, getting to know every single song from that particular band. Muse ended up being rather significant. I really enjoy their music. And I can honestly tell you that I have written so many emotional highs and lows listening to them, that when I do get published I will owe them a lot. I thought I had found my hearts match, I hadn't. I just didn't know it yet.

What you must know is that I become very loyal very fast, thinking there can exist no equivalent to these magicians. So when I then listened to my first Marillion song, mostly on a dare, imagine my surprise... Yes, I had heard some of those old songs with that horrible Fish-character, and I must say I didn't have high hopes ( for more details on this, read the entry called The Beauty That Is Marillion). But my brother asked me to give them a chance, and he added that I probably would really enjoy Steve Hogarth... Would I ever...

Another thing you must know is that since my Bono phase, where U2 was Bono's entourage as far as I was concerned, I have listened to music in a different way. I listened with my ears instead of my eyes...duh... Both Muse and Marillion found their way to my heart through my ears, and that is saying a lot. I had no idea about what their names were or how they looked before I was hooked, and there was no turning back.

At the moment I'm listening to a song called Essence, and this was the song that made me go from liking Marillion to adoring them. I suddenly went on a musical journey where they build up their music, and build up their music, and build it up some more, and then even more, and when you think they can't possibly go to another level, they actually do... and you feel like you're out of breath, and then they add even another level on top of that, and when the song is finished you're emotionally drained...and you feel elevated and enchanted.

How can a voice have such an impact? It's like his voice is enclosing me in protective sound, making me feel like nothing bad can ever touch me. And remember at this point I had no idea of what Steve Hogarth looked like.
Look at the man, he's gorgeous. What's more, he looks as if he's having fun with his music, which is the most important thing. He looks as if he does this because he has no choice, because it's what makes his life good, and I highly respect that.... But, here's my conundrum, is he gorgeous because he's gorgeous, or do I think he's gorgeous because I completely adore his voice? I think it's a bit of both.

Marillion is more than Steve Hogarth's voice. You have the essence of the band, the whole feel when they all do their thing. And a thing that is both impressing and brilliant is their ability to learn still. I think they all play at least seven different instruments at any given time.
And if you really, truly want to listen to music with a message, with heart and soul and a glimpse of eternity, then you should check out Marillion. They are fantastic.
I'm going to one of their concerts this summer, and believe me when I tell you I'm psyched.
From what I can hear, they remain in original key's when live (if  you have any kind of musical insights then you will know that many bands lower the key for live performances, making it easier to sing... Muse did this on Unintended, not good, not good... Marillion doesn't as far as I can hear (and my ear is exceptionally good, actually they both are...). In fact... They transposed This Is The 21'st Century an augmented fourth at the Live At The Cadogan Hall concert...respect!)... And their performances are (if anything) even better than on the albums. Now that is rare!
Marillion really is all that!

Now, when Steve sings Angelina, or When I Meet God, or The Fruit of The Wild Rose, Essence or Out Of This World, or This Is The 21'st Century I think I have to talk about musical orgasms, if such a thing exists...
When I hear Neverland, I enter a state of dreams and hopes and I'm filled with the knowledge that everything is going to be ok. As long as I have hope, as long as I believe I'll reach whatever goal I have. It's magic in a hum drum every day life. And I want to access it as often as I can!
The way he uses his voice is so incredible that I have problems describing it...
When I'm at a loss for words, things are entering the sublime.
Steve Hogart's voice is sublime.
Sublime like the vastness of the alps. Sublime like a storm on the ocean. Sublime like a monster wave.  Sublime like a tornado... A force of nature that has robbed me of my breath, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Marillion is my heart!
And Steve Hogarth, I have fallen in love with you!
Check out the link to Steve Hogarth's homepage... It's at the top to the right :)