By Shawny Lou Miller
A musical score that awakens our senses!
It’s no surprise that the music accompanying a movie plays a vital role in the overall experience that an audience takes away from the story.
Creating a novel can require the same melodic inspiration. Some of my favorite scenes in Unsung Lyrics were born when a song or composition tickled my ears.
It was late in 2013 when I’d arrived at Megan Calloway’s death scene. I was stumped. I knew that I wanted to take the audience on a journey they’d never experienced, but how?
How does a writer, who has yet to die, describe the feeling of being transported to the next life?
Is it possible for one, with such limited words, to carry a reader toward an encounter with a never-before-seen angel of death?
Doesn’t my audience deserve to soak in the same emotion that Megan does, as she travels away from her earthly life, up – up – up into the galaxies?
Writing the death scene for Megan, a talented cellist, would require some creative stimulation!
Google Presents … My Inspiration!
I typed “cello music” into my search engine, expecting to generate the classic remakes of Bach and Beethoven. While that would have been acceptable, what arose before my eyes was nothing less than … confusing.
A YouTube video from a group called The Piano Guys popped onto the top of my feed.
I didn’t request piano music, I thought. I’m looking for cello music!
But the image to the left of the video’s title was that of eight men, each playing a beautiful cello. Little did I realize that these “eight men” were actually one very talented musician, named Steven Sharp-Nelson. He was playing The Piano Guys’ rendition of “The Cello Song” (“Bach is back with 7 more cellos.”)
Curious, I played the video.
Then, I fell into a trance.
As soon as that clip ended, another began – “Moonlight – Electric Cello (Inspired by Beethoven)”.
My soul left my body. I was lifted from my mortal shell and I floated away, off to the next life to meet my maker.
“This is it!” I declared, whipping out my manuscript and scrolling to where I’d left the story.
I was ready to create a delicate scene – one which had to be respectfully and precisely crafted.
Megan Calloway is in the process of dying.
Azrael, the angel of death, has been preparing to usher her into heaven and the two are closing in on each other.
Unwitting Ghost Writers
The Piano Guys could never understand the intricate role that they played in the development of Megan’s death scene.
Not only did their music add wings to my words, but they carried two women, a writer and her protagonist, into heaven’s courtyard.
Thinking back on that day, when I discovered The Piano Guys and wrote that scene, my heart still flutters. My eyes water with joy and gratitude. I’m reminded of the very personal journey that God has set before us when He calls us home, and I’m, once again, removed from the reality of a gravity-driven earth and taken to a place where I can float freely.
I shared the songs, which had pealed away my earthly limitations and inspired my story to soar, with Mikie DeLong Pyle, the story’s screenwriter. I described the scenes, as they matched the compositions and she, too, left this planet.
Mikie immediately looked them up online and saw that they were spiritual guys. Since our story centers around life, death, faith, and the afterlife, which may await us, it’s important that our collaborators walk in the same basic principles as us, in order to ensure that we’re all striving to bless audiences accordingly!
We wondered if maybe … just maybe … we could convince The Piano Guys to sell the rights to these songs so that we could incorporate them into the film that Mikie is writing.
Then … We Dreamed Further
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if they agreed to write an original score for the movie?”
(It’s the biggest dreamers that reach the highest mountains, isn’t it?)
As you read last week in Mikie’s post, “Adapting to the Adaptation”, a cello melody referred to as “Megan’s Refrain”, (a haunting, melancholy tune which will later be deemed, “Haunted Raindrop”, by Megan herself) is introduced to our audience in the very first scene. It will be repeated throughout the film, and it has to be perfect in order to sprinkle the audience with the depth of the emotion that the composition is intended to stir.
The Waltz Between Music and Breathing
On June 25, 2014, Mikie and I, with our husbands, went to see The Piano Guys, live at the Pantages Theater n L.A. Their fingers bounced along with our heartbeats in perfect unison and we left more inspired than ever!
Our souls danced above the seats, as we imagined our story coming to life to the haunting draw of a cello bow and its keyboard companion.
Who knows what the future holds for our novel, our screenplay, and our story’s musical score.
No matter what, if you’re seeking a sound that will invite the stars to fall from the sky and dance through your spirit, you can’t go wrong with The Piano Guys!
Thank you, Steven, Jon, Paul, and Al, for taking Unsung Lyrics to the next level with the inspiration of your song!
Tune in next week when we’ll be sharing some written reviews we’ve received on the manuscript, as it currently stands!
Until then, keep dancing in the rain, stomping through the pain, and discovering your life’s Unsung Lyrics!