#writing #music: #Medea…I mean, #CraigArmstrong


Oh man.

It’s October.

We’ve got a lot to cover, folks–studying Ray Bradbury, chatting with amazing indie writer Shehanne Moore, exploring a special facet of character development, and sharing The Who’s influence on my writing.

But before we go into ANY of that, let’s kick off this month of “ohmygoshiamactuallypublishinganovelthsimonth” panic–I mean, excitement–with some music I’ve known since college, music of  vital importance to my telling of Fallen Princeborn: StolenMusic of origins mythical and mysterious…until SoundCloud yelled at me for uploading it and pointed out the proper composer.


We begin with a simple CD created to accompany my college’s production of MedeaI didn’t make the cast that term (not that I’m still bitter about that. I’m not. Seriously. WHY DIDN’T I MAKE THAT SHOW?!), but my roommate, herself a theater major, was the stage manager and therefore in charge of all things technical, which must have been a challenge when the director decided to get all “experimental” with stage direction, set, and soundtrack.

Because this play was to be experienced like a film, apparently.

Thankfully, my roommate knew when to pull back the soundtrack so the audience could hear the cast. Yes, I put aside my inner grumblings and attended the show. I had a lot of friends up there and behind the scenes, and I wanted to cheer them on in what had to be the toughest show performed that year.

When I think back to that performance now…I don’t really remember seeing the show. I remember hearing it–my friends’ cries when the children are killed, the Greek chorus chanting, the raging howl of anger and revenge…and this music. This, this choir of Latin caution, eternally building with strings and low rumblings of percussion. The sudden sweep into thunderous drums and the harmonies of battle until the last scream pierces the air–

And all is silenced.


Fast forward to New Mom Me writing whenever baby Blondie sleeps. It’s National Novel Writing Month of 2010, and I’m writing what will be the first draft of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. It’s the moment when Charlotte first meets the book’s villain and realizes the lethal situation she and her captured sister are in. They are surrounded. They are underground.

There is no way out.

There is no hope.

I used the music of Medea to imagine the scope of impossible escape, the cold darkness that buried Charlotte and her sister underground. You can hear it, too, in the first four minutes of this track.

But as the baddies learn, you can bloody Charlotte, but you can never break her.

I’d repeat the change in music at the 4:17 marker to watch Charlotte rise up & fight back. The music careens up out of despair and dives, talons at the ready, to draw blood and breath from every evil. Over and over I listened to this music to catch the fire, the blood, the defiance, the sacrifice.

Eight years later, despite all the changes Stolen has experienced, that scene–and its music–remain the same.

Now that I know Scottish composer Craig Armstrong wrote this score, I’m excited to wander his music and pocket a few seeds to plant for stories years in the making. What music of your youth still nurtures the storyteller within? Perhaps it’s time to put on your headphones, close your eyes, and fly into the harmony of story.


~And now, a brief excerpt from Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, coming this Halloween~

Rot, age, old bones, twice-burned ashes—they choke the air like gasoline.
What Charlotte feels is cold. Lots of cold.
All she can trust is what she sees, and what she sees right now is white, brittle wood beneath her, the lavender light pulsing more intensely now from her feet and spreading out and down the tunnel.
Occasional claw marks.
One bloody handprint that begins on one root and is dragged across seven more before vanishing. It’s not a big handprint. There are little traces of purple in
it too, almost like purple glitter.
Glitter. Didn’t Anna have purple glitter? NO. Get your freakin’ act
together, Charlie, and focus. Dad, I wish you were here.
“Charlie?” The voice is rich, deep, and kind.
And dead.
Charlotte’s free hand wavers when a new breeze of gunpowder and chili wisps by. “D-dad?” The power of this place can’t summon the dead. Dad’s buried in holy ground far from here.
“He can also take you to your sister, if that is what you wish.”
The pulse light beats faster from Charlotte, racing to catch up with her heartbeat, so damned fast, she prays Campion cannot hear it from his perch among the last of the tunnel roots. His eyes are swirling, almost glowing, as the rest of him turns still, like the living tree-bones behind him.
“After all, this place is where dreams come true.”


Shy about promotion? Me, too. So let’s try and share our stuff together, hmm? I just started up the monthly newsletter From the Wilds of Jean Lee’s World. It’s a separate set of updates from that of WordPress. In the newsletter, I share not only updates on my own fiction, but I’ll share updates on your wild creative endeavors, too! Just email me at jeanleesworld@gmail.com to snag a slot in a future edition.

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

34 thoughts on “#writing #music: #Medea…I mean, #CraigArmstrong

  1. That is one neat piece of music. Love the build, it makes the listening journey. Also like the way he changes the mood throughout just enough to let listeners explore the emotions ‘sound’ can create.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know! I’m so bummed I can’t get the complete original score the track came from, but the film itself is in my library, so I’m snatching that up for a proper listen. Chances are my brain will rebel at the film, though. I’m so accustomed to Medea memories with this song.


    • Thanks! It’s actually rather curious on how 8 years of writing this one story, and almost all of the songs I used to write to have changed. There’s only a handful of songs that influenced either character or action so deeply that I can’t separate them from the narrative. This is one of those songs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I get to come back and read this now having bookmarked it. I do loves Craig Armstrong. And my darling had I been casting that production you’d have made the cut. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX for the mention. I am nearly done with the answers . Will get you them tomorrow xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was an answer to a mystery over ten years old! I’m really excited to explore more of his work.
      You know, I don’t think I’d have been nearly as bitter if it weren’t for people coming up to congratulate me for making the cut AFTER the cast listed and my name was NOT on there. Seriously, I had to correct half a dozen people, and all of them just gave me blank looks like I had no clue what I was talking about, and was really in the show. THAT got stuck in my craw. (grumble grumble)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Off topic but… The video from Clue reminds me of a routine in my classroom. When somebody in the class shouted I’d shout, “Who is that shouting? Oh, it’s me!” I’m not sure the children found it funny but it kept me amused!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely post once again, Miss Jean, and lots of good things to look forward to this month! I need to wrangle the lil un who vomited this morning, so stayed home allll day, but oddly is feeling just fine now, but I will come back for the music 😉 27 More Days till release!!! WHEEEE!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In certain songs it’s damn crucial. We’ve watched many live performances with the kids (censored, mind), and the energy is just, slightly, different. I get that age is a factor, but there just seems to be less…control, you could say. The music has more freedom with him.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool, another book! 🙂 I love the cover too. Your writings are enchanting, I got under the spell three years ago, right? 🙂 This book was in progress, and now I can read it! You are wonderful! xxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Medea soundtrack is fabulous AND I have to say that knowing you’ve spent the better part of the decade writing Fallen Princeborn, I feel infinitely better about my self and my writing. I am my worst taskmaster and when I don’t meet the imaginary writing goals I set for myself, I do get a little blue, but your post reminds me that good writing takes time and must be birthed at its own pace. Thanks, Jean!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great music choice – I LOVE Craig Armstrong’s music – but I didn’t know this one! I hope the promo month for STOLEN is going brilliantly… I’m now back from my writing retreat and will sort out questions for your interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Book preview: Jean Lee’s novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. | Cath Humphris

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  10. Pingback: #readers, #celebrate with #BestSelling #RiverVine #stories & Fallen #Princeborn: Stolen– #FREE for a #Thanksgiving #Giveaway! | Jean Lee's World

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