Monday, November 21, 2011

Moon Dance Monday (Nov. 21st)

Hello! Welcome to my first in a set of articles I'm going to start doing every Monday. I'm calling these Moon Dance Mondays, and I'm hoping to use them to share a bit more about my book, how my writing is going, or any other random writing related stuff with you guys. Why am I doing this? Well, my blog is called I Write, I Read, I Review and I feel that I don't really show enough of the writing part of that. So it's time I did something about it!

This week's topic is...
Q: What inspired Moon Dance?

 If I gave a full list I think we'd be here all day. So I'm going to narrow it down to a top five list instead. When I say that something inspired Moon Dance, what I'm talking about are games, movies, TV shows, music, etc. that have given me some kind of "Eurika!" moment that has either stuck with me or which solved a problem I was having. Here we go!

My dad risked life and limb to get this.
1. Final Fantasy II (Proper Name: FFIV)

If I hadn't played this, there is no guarantee that I would have ever become a writer. This was actually what made storytelling seem thrilling to me. Possibly because of it's interesting yet simple formatted story, Final Fantasy II made my twelve year old self want to change the way the story went.

Why didn't Kain get a girlfriend? What happened after Cecil and Rosa got married? Did Edge and Rydia ever go on a date? And what if a new character entered the story and ended up with Cecil so Kain could have Rosa? In primitive, (Name: text) format, and later in more normally formatted writing, I explored these things and discovered the joys of taking a world and manipulating it so that it worked the way that I wanted to. I discovered how fun it was to see the ideas in my head get turned into words on paper that anyone could see. And thus a writer was born.

Left to right: Milon, Kainazzo, Valvalis, and Rubicant
(<3 Rubicant! You made me question the nature of evil!)
By far the most noticeable influence from Final Fantasy II when looking at Moon Dance is the four fiends, who in my story are known as the Dark Prophets. This is a concept that appeared in FF1 and FF2 and that Square eventually abandoned. What I really loved about the fiends in II was that each had his or her own distinct personality and way of doing things.

My Dark Prophets only started there, though. There are a lot of huge differences between FF's fiends and my prophets. First up: my prophets are totally hot guys. :D And while they have some "OMG Holy Crap!" powers and can cause a lot of trouble, they are not inherently bad. (Which I must credit to Rubicant, the fire devil on the right of that picture.)

Another key difference between the fiends and my prophets is that while each prophet does have an element, each also has an area of suffering that he oversees -- famine, death, plague and war respectively. They also have an elaborate mythology explaining how they became the Dark Prophets and their attempts to get rid of their jobs are what gets Moon Dance started.

2. Mortal Kombat (the movie)

I think I was in 7th grade when this released? Anyway, I really liked the games, but it was the first movie that made an impression on me as a writer. Now I'm sure that you're wondering how a movie about a video game could get someone writing...

Well, on a humorous note, I seem to recall writing a piece with my friends and I as sailor scouts (I was hugely into Sailor Moon around this time too.) who had to go to Mortal Kombat to stop Shang Tsung. I also seem to recall that my best friend and I had crushes on Sub Zero and Scorpion. *cough*

Way too old for Sarena.
On a more serious note, the idea for Kesyl actually came from seeing Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movie. I thought that his powers were incredibly interesting and started thinking about what kind of powers I thought someone would have if they could consume people's souls. I also considered how someone might feel about having the power to do that if he was an eighteen year old teenage boy. Yes, I have had a lot of fun writing Kesyl.

One key difference between Shang Tsung and Kesyl is that unlike Shang Tsung, Kesyl is suppose to have morals. While he does not always live up to being the super powerful, all mighty source of justice that he is meant to be as the God of Judgement (how boring would that be?) when push comes to shove Kess has a good heart and wants to do the right thing. Most of the time. If you don't piss him off.

Thank you Ms. Davey
3. Mythology by Edith Hamilton

I got really into Greek Mythology early in my teens and it has been a huge influence on my writing ever since. (Okay, technically I've studied Greek, Norse, Celtic, Egyptian and Japanese myth... I love mythology in general.) Anyone who knows me knows two things: my favorite Greek God is Apollo, and my favorite myth is the story of Persephone and Hades. Both of these things influenced Moon Dance. How?

Kyden has some Apollo qualities. He has visions occasionally, he is a healing deity who fell from heaven and became the God of Plagues. (Prophecy, healing and plagues are all domains of Apollo). I decided to go with a snake twined staff as his weapon (which would more suitably represent Hermes or Aesclipius (I probably butchered that name, I admit.) On the other hand, though, Kyden is good natured, kind, generally very patient, and funny. Of all of my Gods, he's the one who acts the most human.

I love Kyden. Can you tell?
(Alas, the image's eyes aren't violet.)
Hades and Persephone play an important roll in Moon Dance, too. The Underworld in my story is a much more friendly (and modern!) place, but it is definitely inspired by the Greek version. I had a lot of fun trying to flesh it out and give it its own personality, style and culture. I don't get to go into this as much in Moon Dance, but in Cait & Avish's book there will be a lot more going on in the Underworld and I am excited to let people really check it out. I must admit, I am just a little bit proud of it. :)

In Greek myth, the Underworld has three parts. There are fields for average people, there are the Elysian Fields and Isle of Heroes (may have that wrong -- been a while and need to look it up) for heroes and virtuous people, and there is Tartarus for people who have committed crimes. In my Underworld each of the Prophets has a domain, as do Lucian (the main ruler of the Underworld) and Kesyl (the Judge of the Dead).

I love these books. 
4. The House of Night series

This is the series that got me into YA. It is also responsible for solving a huge problem that I was having when I was planning to make Moon Dance a modern fantasy. I've read a lot of paranormal books and the paranormal element is always hidden from the average world. These books go "Nope". People know vampires exist. I liked this so much that I decided that people should know my Kindred exist, too.

And that's how the whole Millenium / Y2K mythology entered the picture. I must also give credit to a fantastic documentary that I watched on String Theory, too. I wanted to make sure that my Kindred were established before the story began, because what's going on is crazy enough on its own, and this let me do it.

The other things I learnt from the House of Night books are that it's okay to have multiple characters progressing in the same story (or rather, that *I* feel it's okay. There are those who would disagree with this.) and that having multiple POV can enhance a story when it is done properly. (Yet again, something that is strictly in my opinion.)

*sigh* All I'm sayin'. ;)
5. Music!

Awake by Josh Groban

This whole album is awesome, but there are a few songs that had a major impact on Moon Dance and I'd like to give them a moment of thanks. "Mai" is Kesyl's theme. It's what I listened to when I was working on a really tense scene between Kess and Sara in the middle of the book and it really helped me to get a feel for what Kess is like when someone lets him down.

"In Her Eyes" is about Avish and Cait. The fact that Avish can be so awful and yet I want to show that there is a person there is one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in writing Moon Dance. There are four major scenes between these two and they all need to be revisited and strengthened during revisions because their bond is extremely important to the book.

I love the line 'Rest your wings my butterfly' in "Lullaby" and that's where Kyden's nickname for Sara came from.

And of course the album has what I view as the Sara and Kess theme (the other being "She's Everything" by Brad Paisley), "So She Dances".

Mom got me to listen to
"Edge of Glory". Thanks!
Born This Way by Lady GaGa

There are three songs on here that are really important. One for each of my heroines.

"Edge of Glory" is Sara's. Considering that she is working toward becoming a Goddess and destined to be with the God of Judgement, I felt that it was fitting at the point they are at right now.

"Electric Chapel" is Cait's. I knew this song was hers the moment I heard the line "My body is sanctuary / My blood is pure / You want me back / I think you're cool / But I'm not sure." (I've seen some lyrics say "You want me bad"; works fine either way.)

"Fashion of his Love" is Isabelle's. So glad I got the deluxe version! I love both versions of this song. I actually didn't realize there were two until recently and I actually like the alternate one even more, especially the "He's loving imperfection" part at the beginning since Kyden and Isabelle have such different personalities and one day my boyfriend flat out asked me "What the hell does he see in her?". There's way more to Isabelle then meets the eye, but since she's the book three heroine it's going to be a while before that is proven.

Anyway, that concludes my first edition of Moon Dance Mondays! Please let me know if this was of interest to you so that I can figure out whether to continue these or not. I probably will for a few weeks regardless, but when I test out a new article or feature I try to see whether it's working or not so that I know if I should invest my energy there.

Is there anything about Moon Dance, or writing in general, that you are curious about? If you have a question about my book or writing that you'd like me to tackle please let me know. :)


  1. Good luck with book. I enjoyed reading the elements that inspired you to create "Moon Dance" book. So far I can't think of questions yet. :D


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