Blog #8 – Music and Moments – The Wandering Inn

Blog #8 – Music and Moments

I promised to do another blog post, and here it is. 18 days into my br—wait. Where did my break go?

No seriously, it feels like it’s flown by. To say that eighteen days have vanished is…well, it feels like 8 days, seriously.

I have noticed myself recovering from being so tired. Whether or not the month will bring me back to 100% is always sort of a gamble. Motivation comes and goes; you have months where you write like a demon, and months where you fight for it.

In the same way, you can get ‘out of shape’ or perhaps out of the flow after even a week’s break. I’ll hopefully pull myself back into the zone before I release the first chapter, but there’s more factors than just personal effort.

Life…always influences art. If something happened, like a car hitting me, I’m sure it would affect any writing physically, but there’s also the emotional stuff. But I’m sure you can guess what tragedy and joy do to writing, so let’s talk about songs.

Here’s something that is true: without fail, each and every time I find a new song while browsing the internet, be it YouTube, Spotify, the radio, whatever—each time it’s a song that speaks to me, I think a great scene or chapter arises.

If it’s a great song. There are thousands upon thousands of ‘good’ songs. Countless songs that are well-made technically, or even beautiful—but don’t fit my specific taste. I can’t narrow it down, though I do think it probably moves across pop and rock more than any genre. But I generally like 1-4 songs of any artist at most; it’s rare any other songs would fit my narrow list.

But those songs I do like? I listen to them again and again, and as a result of always thinking about The Wandering Inn, when I exercise (I listen to music while exercising), I tend to plan out fight scenes, moments, and then by association, songs become linked to certain chapters or characters in my head.

It’s a weird phenomenon of the job. At any rate, you can be assured that these songs were what I was listening to while writing or while planning out the chapter, sometimes dozens or maybe a hundred times so I could get the motivation to write. There are tons of them, so I’m only going to do the most recent ones, and to do that I just went through my Spotify list in more or less chronological order.

Be warned? Spoilers for all the volumes, obviously, but the real concern is…what happens if you find you don’t think the song matches up, or it changes your perception of me, the characters, or the plot? There’s a reason I do believe the author doesn’t always matter when it comes to the story. If you let it, the author bleeds into the book, and that’s not always good.

…But I am gonna write it, so let’s see what people think and what happens.


PS. Gravesong’s songs are literal examples of this. Writing song to scene. Now, if only I knew how to actually compose music. But I haven’t put the time in, and that world is deep, and I’d want to challenge it maybe…someday.


Brave Enough (ARIZONA) — V8. Menorkel’s song to himself in Ailendamus. I always imagined it was a duet from his two heads to each other. I really like this band, and I don’t know how they appeared in my feed while I was listening to music.


Mayonaka no Door / Stay With Me (Miki Matsubara) — V9. This one’s weird. It’s not even the song so much as the smile. There’s a picture of the artist on the album staring into the camera and smiling. Part of it might be the context around the artist herself—and I don’t know that much, but something about the image strikes me.

…Shaulille of Roshal smiles like that. That’s what I thought, and I could talk about the smile for a while, but I’m still not sure it’s actually a smile.


Try (P!nk) — V9. This is the song I think I was listening to as Erin Solstice was sailing into the battle against the Bloodfeast Pirates and choosing to stab Iradoren. The pink, flaming hair might be a reference. It’s entirely apropos about fire, too. Frankly, if this story were set decades ago, it might have been Maviola El’s song.


I Lived (OneRepublic) — V7-8. Gresaria Welfar’s rebuttal to the ghosts and pretty much a summary of her entire life, really. Not much else to say.


Cheese Tax (Puppy Songs) — V9? No character fits this. But I swear to you, one day I wrote for like 5 hours with this thing on repeat. It wasn’t even silly music. Someone recced it, and I put it on and just didn’t turn it off.


Soldier of Heaven (Sabaton) — V8. Someone in my Discord chat recommended Sabaton once, and I didn’t get into their songs…right away. This one fits the Beriad facing down the City of Waves. Only, instead of an avalanche, it brings to mind them holding back an army and the 1st Tide Skill.


Bismarck (Sabaton) — V9. This would be Admiral Dakelos and the Spitoon refusing to sink until the very last. Now I think about it, it really IS pop and rock that dominates my playlist. I don’t think there are other genres I’d hate; I suspect it’s just what’s been exposed to me over my life. I didn’t get into music…at all until like sophomore year of high school. Then I understood what I was missing. Music is funny like that. I wonder if there’s something else I haven’t experienced that’s common to people? Well, I didn’t drink for a long time. Now I see the appeal. Weed sucks.


Attack of the Dead Men (Sabaton) — V8. I could do more Sabaton actually…but I think I’ll end with this one. This one fit the 1000 [Kings] appearing on the battlefield between Ailendamus and the Dawn Concordat. Though the actual tale this song is based on is a lot more grim. Do songs influence the scenes and the writing? Absolutely. I’m just not sure how much.

Either way, I love finding new songs because my motivation maxes for a while after listening to them. Then I can never reclaim that feeling of first hearing the songs…it’s a strange thing. It must be like chasing the unicorn for drugs. Well, I still enjoy listening.


The Cruel Angel’s Thesis (Yoko Takahashi) — V9. I have never watched Evangelion. With that said, I do like a number of Japanese songs—but it’s hard to find ones I like because I can’t search in…Japanese. Also! It’s a lot more vibes-based because I don’t speak the language. I studied it for a while, but if you don’t practice it…poof.

Guess who this song is about. Just guess. Did you say Ser Normen in the blizzard where he fights against the Snow Golems? Or the Order of Solstice taking form? For some reason, it really fits him. Everyone’s the hero of their own story.


Crazy (Gnarls Barkley) — V9. This one fits an entire group in the moment. Now I think about it, a good game would be to predict who matches to which song. In this case?

The Adventurer’s Haven. I always remember the moment when Larracel’s Haven is floating towards Erin and it’s rotating, showing all the Named-ranks. Famous. Insane. I feel like I didn’t do them justice. Old legends who’re each as crazy and dangerous as Colth. Remember, he’s the rookie around them.

Two-faced, perhaps. The face you see and who they are. It’d make a good music video if only I could transmute the things I see to images. Well, this music video with the rorschach-type images is one of the few music videos I’ve ever liked. I usually don’t watch them.


Heaven Knows (Five for Fighting) — V9. Should have foreshadowed the dancing more—but I wish I could fully choreograph or explain how I think Erin dances. It looks…like something in my mind. And this is the only song that fit her. I listened to them for ages and came across this one by accident. I’d not heard it before. I like it.


Little Talks (Of Monsters and Men) — No particular scene, but I’ve always imagined Durene and Laken dueting this song. The name of the band probably influenced that? But some of the lyrics work.


Raging Fire (Phillip Phillips) — V8. These songs usually come either if I’m listening to Youtube and it suggests a new song or Spotify’s radio feature. It’s hard to find new songs I like. Anyways, this one’s Ryoka and Tyrion seeing each other fly and him finding someone faster than him for a moment.


The Light (Disturbed) — V9. You know, I don’t like their cover of The Sound of Silence as much as the original. It’s still fun to listen to a few times…

This one’s Visophecin meeting Ryoka in some ways, but mostly his appearance on Roshal’s ship. I am not the most subtle of listeners sometimes. Also, I have songs for moments you haven’t seen yet. I’m looking forwards to writing them.


Providence (Poor Man’s Poison) — V9. Barelle the Bard singing to General Thelican. If I could, I’d write a more original song for the Hemp-caste Stitch-folk, but this one fits.


Special credit to Northwest Passage (Stan Rogers) and Leave Her Johnny (Author Unknown) — V8-9. They are indeed the melodies of Great Plains Sing and the amazing rendition of Land’s Farewell that the fans did. It was amazing to hear people turn my bad lyrics into an amazing performance. Wait, does that mean Tolkien wasn’t that great if people can make songs out of his stuff?

Clamavi De Profundis does incredible covers of his work. I’m subbed to his group on Patreon. Speaking of which—


Song of Durin (Clamavi De Profundis) — V9. This song always reminds me of Iradoren’s arrival to Calanfer. And yes, he is that kind of ruler. [Prince of Men] and no one else. Well, you wonder if it was all just him or if there’s more to it. Erribathe…we’ve got to have more Terandrian chapters. So much to do, so much to do.


Someone To You (BANNERS) — V9. The one, the only, Major Khorpe. To me, I’ve heard this song hundreds of times as I was planning that scene where he appears in the lands of the dead. Running to set the souls of Kasignel free. It defines his character, at least, when we meet him at the end of his life. I really like this song.


Pierre (Ryn Weaver) — V9. This is, in the same way, the song that I associated with the moment a silly Winter Sprite dove into a suit of armor and became Theillige and walked into the inn. A hundred stories encapsulated in a person we meet for moments.

A biker riding through a blizzard, a warrior of the Wild Hunt, and the Faerie King’s agent ready to strike down a goddess. What the song’s really about—well, that’s just as complex.


Morning in Slag Ravine (Joe Hisaishi) — V9. Pretty much Irrel’s trumpet song. I was trying to think of how to express it, then I remembered Laputa, that amazing movie. If you watch the movie, the scenes that open the movie are amazing and catching—but this is, I think, when the movie sold me completely. It tells you a lot about a character in Laputa perfectly, in a single scene, without words.


True Love (P!nk, Lily Allen) — V9. Not about true love so much as Yvlon and Colth’s relationship when they were literally punching each other out of the way of traps in the Maze of Shields. But you read into it what you want. Can you tell how many songs I used to plan out scenes at the end of the Solstice?

Shippers can do whatever they want with it. It’s a banging song. Wait…that’s probably an innuendo.


Zero (Imagine Dragons) — V8. I’m running out of songs I want to talk about (and I’m writing a lot, a good sign?), so a few more. This one…is when the Woven Bladegrass tribe starts running and their Chieftain, Werri, reveals she has the ability to get taller and stronger.

In some ways, it’s a character-song about her. I should have written more chapters about the Gnolls. I can always fix that. The tribes deserve more!


Angeleyes (ABBA) — Guess. No, seriously. I’ve always thought…this song reminds me of Pisces. I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s that amazing pitch and chorus and—something about it. It’s the song that you hear when he’s sliding across a waxed floor at night and smiling, his finest hours. Actually, there’s another song that captures a completely different tone for him too. Strangely, Pisces might have the most songs about him of all the characters. But I haven’t written the other two into the story yet.


You Belong With Me [Taylor’s Version] (Taylor Swift) — V9. Last one. I can’t remember why I started listening to Taylor Swift again. I think I liked Anti-Hero after hearing a podcast discussing it, but I’m not really into her as much as some. However! I heard there were re-recorded versions of her songs, and this one I thought was better than the original.

Anyways, this one reminds me of Rabbiteater facing off against Iradoren after he finds his footing and starts using his own powers. Yes, seriously. Iradoren is the [Prince of Men] who commands and has all of humanity backing him up.

Rabbiteater is, in some ways, very like him. He’s the [Champion] of Goblins, the [Knight] who impressed a continent of Terandrians, the Hufflepuff who has a strange charisma of his own. If there ever was some kind of strange jock-guy that Taylor Swift was singing about who has all these desirable traits, it’s probably him. No idea who the ‘cheer captain’ is in this analogy, though. Not all the songs have to match in lyric or theme to…anyways.


Those are most of the songs I have recently that fit an exact theme. There are plenty more I listen to while writing, and hey! I didn’t even list a single non-vocal song. I have at least a hundred, I think, and multiple playlists I use to write with.

Writing when someone is singing takes a bit of concentration, so I’ll often put on one of those hour-long playlists, and I have tons I use for different kinds of scenes. But these songs? They’re characters and moments, so I thought they were more indicative of something.

I hope this has been fascinating to you, and hey, if there was a single song you found that was perfect for you and will be part of your playlist forever—that’s great. I’m always searching for new music. As much as great stories—well, they are great stories in 3-minute chunks, aren’t they?

So long as there’s always more good music, I think I’ll always have motivation from that. Now, if only I could search up the best songs from other languages. I’ll always remember sitting on a bus in Mongolia and desperately writing down the few English words I could hear from a song that captured my mind when I was sixteen. I was lucky it was on repeat.

The song was Lonely Night by Agiimaa. I still have no idea what it’s actually about. But I do like music. Hope you’ve had a good start to 2024. I’ll get to writing soon. Now, time to organize my notes. I have a lot of them. Wish me luck and, I guess, rec me some songs in the comments. Thanks.


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