In an earlier post, I suggested Five Songs to Inspire Writers, but as a fantasy writer, you might need something a bit different. That’s why I’ve assembled here the top five songs to inspire scenes of mist-shrouded landscapes, noble quests, and mind-bending magic. Read below to see what I’ve picked out.
5. Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold (2013)
Swords clanking on shields, axes cleaving bone, blood and mud and horses whinnying and men grunting as they take an armor-cracking blow from a mace. If you need to write a battle scene, Avenged Sevenfold is your band and “Hail to the King” is your song. Hoarse, shouted vocals by singer M. Shadow and crunching guitars will get your heart pumping. The sound of men shouting “hail, hail” in the background gives it a medieval feel. Or maybe you can just imagine that’s what the crowds will be shouting after they read your 200,000 word epic fantasy.
4. Dreamweaver, Gary Wright (1975)
Isn’t a Dreamweaver exactly what a fantasy writer is? This song might have rated a bit higher if it didn’t remind me so much of the movie Wayne’s World. Still, all the interweaving synths definitely put me in a creative mood, ready to spin out pages and pages of fantastic, magic-infused storylines.
3. Two Knights and Maidens, Crash Test Dummies (1993)
This one has a nice fairy tale feel, perfect if you’re channeling the Brothers Grimm. In the fantasy trilogy I’m working on now, I’ve found that adding fairy tales and legends, or at least snatches from them, go a long way toward establishing a lived-in feeling to the world. By the way, as many times as I’ve heard this song, I’d never noticed until I looked up the lyrics just now how darkly ironic the ending is. Those maidens turned out to be naughtier than the knights imagined….
2. In the Land of Grey and Pink, Caravan (1971)
A prog rock song from the early 70s. It was tough limiting myself to just one prog rock selection, seeing as the whole genre sometimes seemed to exist as an excuse to put weak imitations of the Lord of the Rings to music. This one is a bit different, in that it’s a very good imitation of the Hobbit. It’s really beautifully done, though, and all those soft, dream-like organ solos will be perfect for inspiring your own adventures in the Shire.
1. Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues (1967)
With its beautiful soaring vocals and mysteriously romantic lyrics, this song was famous for conjuring up far-out imagery in the hallucinogen-soaked minds of 1960s teen-agers. But you don’t have to take drugs to be inspired by this song (in fact, if you’re trying to reach your daily word count, I would recommend against it). Just put this song on and no longer will you be a modern-day author in a t-shirt typing on your laptop, but a knight in the Middle Ages using a quill to write a story dedicated to his beloved. (Never mind that most knights would have been illiterate, just go with it.) This song never fails to put me in just the right mood for penning epic scenes and chapters.