The following will probably be boring.
“Why are you telling us this, Kate?” you ask wearily.
Um. So you don’t charge at me with a pitchfork in the comments section? I just have a creeping feeling that this is not going to be my most riveting post, okay?
But I still want to write it, because… because this is my blog and I do what I want!
And also because… I’m a horrible author who actually enjoys giving things away and, I don’t know… perhaps some of my diehard fans will enjoy all the trivia about my firstborn child?
Oh, hush, I know I have diehard fans out there somewhere!
I shall now proceed to list a tidy list of shows or movies or songs or other books that have contributed something to The Songless. And there will be lovely pictures. So maybe stick around for that, if nothing else?
1. Prince Caspian: Runaway
I was just a kid when I began, so you must forgive me for my blatant plagiarism.
The Songless was essentially a genderswapped Prince Caspian when I first wrote it. Character names, for example, were Telmar-esque and Endelyn had a father who was similar to King Miraz in both appearance and attempting-to-kill-a-close-relative.
I am happy to say that The Songless does not resemble Prince Caspian in the slightest now! I do love the story of Caspian, though… It could use a few more retellings, methinks.
2. Wormwood: Fallen Angels
Wormwood is an extremely obscure book, so I don’t expect you to have read it. But it is also one of my favorites and shaped The Songless in some important ways.
One of the main characters is Tegatus, an angel who “fell in love with the wrong woman” and whose fate seems to be in a kind of limbo. Another angel, Abram, tells someone that he is a fallen angel – but what fascinates me is that Abram still actively works for the good side.
The Songless, and all of my other stories, center around a race of beings called Kwanza. Like angels, they are immortal and have certain superhuman abilities like healing or foresight or telepathy. Unlike angels, they live on earth in order to protect humanity and can both rebel against their Maker and be redeemed after doing so.
Like in Wormwood, even after having “fallen,” the Kwanza can still choose to serve their Creator.
3. How To Train Your Dragon: Joka
Some of you know that, in its infancy, The Songless‘ basic plot was: Gril runs away from home. Girl gets stuck in trap. Dragon-riding dude saves her. They are both thrown in prison.
Anybody want to venture a guess as to where the dragon-riding dude came from?
Not that Makovu was much like Hiccup. On the contrary, Makovu was an adult man, tall and strong and mysterious and not much of a conversationalist.
The dragon, on the other hand…
I’m positive that my first description of it sounded something like this… “There was a small catlike dragon with wide adorable eyes like saucers. He was black, but had livid spots if you looked really close. He was playful and nice once you got to know him but was kind of hostile at first.”
There is still a dragon in The Songless, which pleases me muchly. His name is Joto la Joka and he is an infant. In dragon years, that is. In human years he is about a thousand. Or so.
I’ll admit… Joka strongly resembles Toothless, even now. But I’m hoping that since Joka is so tiny he can fit into the palm of your hand, my plagiarism won’t be too apparent?
4. Oliver Twist: Honor Among Thieves
After reading Oliver Twist, a band of thieves mysteriously appeared in my story. Complete with a teenage girl, her lover, and two mischievous imps.
Could I have been any more obvious?
Ugh. My younger self was so… uncreative.
Some vestiges of this influence still remain, however! The Nomads are still, at their core, the “thieves” and I still try to convey that in the midst of their cruel and proud ways, they value honor and loyalty and have a certain code of ethics even they do not dare to break.
5. Hercules: Meg’s Deal With Hades
Ooh! This is a more recent influence.
Which means I must be quite secret. So I’ll just say that, yes, one of my characters – Endelyn, to be exact – did indeed sell her soul to Hades. Who happens to be the father of the man she is in love with.
Whew! Glad I didn’t give anything away!
6. Brave: Mother-Daughter Friendship
Aww! I remember when my story was sweet and innocent and oddly Scottish…
This was back when Endelyn had met her biological mother but her father killed her. Or perhaps Endelyn herself murdered her mother? It was never quite clear to me whodunnit, to be honest. So it’s probably for the best that this plot was cast aside…
Anywho. In this draft, Endelyn had a mother. That’s the important thing!
They were close, like sisters and did everything together. Including horseback riding. Which isn’t reminiscent at all of a certain Disney film. Not at all.
But you will be happy to know that all signs of this influence have been eradicated! Ha!
7. On Stranger Tides: Mermaid And Sailor Romance
I’m not even sure she is a mermaid? I’m just guessing because of the… towel.
In case you couldn’t tell, I have not seen this movie. But soundtracks are a thing… especially at my house. Daniel is kind of obsessed. By the way, the soundtrack is the most haunting, terrifying, and utterly beautiful I have ever heard, so if you ever get a chance, listen to it.
Anyway. I saw this picture and their frightened, “caught” expressions and suddenly… The Songless had a sequel! In this sequel, Endelyn’s son, Timothy, fell in love with a mermaid and turned her human. There was no plot? Unless you count sneaking a towel-clad girl into your house a plot? Which… I don’t?
Needless to say, the sequel was scrapped.
But I am still as fascinated with mermaids as ever and will absolutely be writing about them someday.
8. Game of Thrones: Despairing Eyes
Just… just look at their eyes for a moment.
Isn’t it heartbreaking? Not one of them has any hope. You can tell. Just by the eyes.
And, no, I have never watched this show. But a picture like this one was inside the booklet that comes with the soundtrack – please say you know what I’m talking about – and their eyes were so… powerful.
I see greed and anger and hurt and fear and danger and evil and ambition. And hopelessness. Despair. Submission. Apathy.
This… this is exactly what Endelyn looked like as a child. What everyone looked like who lived in the Empire.
9. The Walking Dead: Aesthetic
My older brother watches this show.
I do not.
Just so you know.
My stomach for violence is… small.
But my big brother is a fan and I remember one day he was describing this scene… and it just came to life in my mind. He said that the group – almost like a pack of hunters – were living in a desertlike wilderness and each night would form a circle around the campfire and that one of the girls would sing.
I still have this scene in The Songless. It was too important to leave out.
The similarities to The Walking Dead are prominent and striking and not unintentional. You might say the later drafts were inspired by or based off of this show.
My characters live in the desert, living as fugitives from the insane Wale Giza and from the fact they are all on the verge of insanity themselves. They have a pledge that if anyone in their “pack” starts to… turn, they will kill them before the disease takes over their mind. One of my characters, Wimbo Nzuri, is based off of the girl who sang.
I have no idea if I’m even imagining this show right, but I like to think that The Walking Dead is a kind of aesthetic for The Songless.
10. Closer: Alcoholism
Well, whaddya know about that?
One lonely song has made its way onto this list. Which is odd, actually, because two of my other novels are inspired almost entirely by an album or an artist, so music does have an impact on my writing. I’m not a completely uncultured swine, I will have you know.
Though… you may doubt this fact because Closer by Halsey isn’t exactly the most classy selection? And I’m sorry about that. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of mainstream pop, but the sass levels in this song and the raw regret… well, I love this song.
You might consider Closer Makovu’s… anthem. This song kind of sums him up perfectly. One line leapt out at me… “I drink too much and that’s an issue, okay.”
Now I can hear you snickering at me because it isn’t profound at all, but it inspired me. Alcoholism doesn’t get much press, I don’t pretend to know why. But when I heard it, I just knew – drinking was Makovu’s big struggle. His demon to conquer.
11. Forbidden: Darkening
I love Ted Dekker! Most of the time, that is… He can be a brilliant genius and a total creeper, alternately, and his books are not for the faint of heart, but I got hooked at age nine and faithfully read every book he writes even now.
Forbidden is one of his more recent books, and the premise is quite fascinating… But I won’t bore you with the details. In this book, a certain group of rather intimidating people have black blood and pale skin so that you can see all the veins in their necks and arms and their eyes are all pupil, all black. It’s scary.
I may have stolen this.
All the rest of the characters are in various stages of… darkness. Some are “dead” and others “awakened.” A third group is kind of “twice-awakened.”
I may have stolen this also.
My setting is entirely different so I don’t think Ted will mind much when he finds out?