from Pinterest via rachelbananas.com
Forgive me if I quote, or more accurately, paraphrase from a very cheesy, often misunderstood, and highly underrated spoof film (I’m Gonna Git You Sucka) as I consider one of my heroic characters walking into the sunset. One man asks (looking at a group of men with instruments) to the other, “Who are these guys?” and the other responds, “They're my theme music. Every hero needs to have theme music!”
So, today, in part 4 of the Music My Muse series, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on character theme songs. (see part 1, part 2, and part 3 here).
Hero is a word of many meanings. As a lover of great stories, I know that the hero is the main character or protagonist of the story. If said character should also be ‘a hero’ as in one who saves the lives of others, well, so be it. Much in the same way that mood music helps me imagine a scene or evoke a feeling or emotion, theme songs represent the broader aspects of a story or character. When you hear a theme song, you don’t always recall minute details, plot points, or specific character traits but instead, you immediately identify the story or character without question.
The idea of a theme song seems to work best when it comes to TV programming, but it can also be quite compelling for film. If I start to sing, “Thank you for being a friend,” four grey-haired women automatically pops into the minds of many who only sporadically watch the 80s TVs show, while singing the words, “So no one told you life was going to be this way,” will have most thinking of six friends from New York. Think of all the movies in the James Bond franchise and then consider how easy it is to identify each one by their theme song.
For me, I imagine that each of my characters has a theme song. When I hear it, I automatically think of them without question or consider how the character may or may evolve over the course of a story or series. I think, though, that’s the toughest part about applying a theme song to a character. Characters change, grow, and evolve over time, but the message, feeling, and theme of the song stays constant. If there is a song that can represent a character through all their development and evolution, then that should be their theme song.
For heroes of my Eternal Curse Series, I imagine they each have very different theme songs. For the powerful, yet sometimes self-loathing character of Giovanni, I hear the song “Loser” by Beck. For the science-minded, yet spiritually curious character of Mira, I hear the song “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. In the second installment, Eternal Curse: Battleground, I hear the song “I’m Just a Girl” by No Doubt when I think of the character Tori(Victoria), and so much more.
If you’d like to experience more of the songs and other inspiration for the characters, setting, and themes of the Eternal Curse Series, please visit these two Pinterest story guides: BOOK 1 | BOOK 2.
Now for something a little different. In this section, I’ll be sharing quotes from other authors and bloggers, I’ve collected in over 200 interviews, when asked, ‘When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?’
“I love all music. I especially love old time jazz. I sing… My dad was a trumpet player, so he taught me to love music. There was always music in my house growing up, and now I am making my own music. To me, even the musical scales are music!” ~ Penelope Dyan
“Generally, I look for uplifting music. Right now I’ve got ‘The one and only’ by Chesney Hawkes stuck in my head, and I’m liking it. I also like ‘No myth’ by Michael Penn and ‘The promise’ by When in Rome.” ~ Arthur Daigle
“I love jazz and old school R&B (like back in the 80s). I can’t stand Alternative or Heavy Metal. I’m sorry.” ~ Emeka Iwenofu