Inspiration Through Music: Three Days Grace

There are songs you listen to when you’re happy. There are songs that you may intentionally avoid when you are sad. And then there are those tunes that seem to satiate the rage inside of you when you just don’t give a damn anymore. Likewise, this can help you get into a character’s head if they are having a really, really bad day. Folks, I introduce you to Three Days Grace. This band has actually been one of my favorite rock bands for a number of years and has helped to inspire scenes for books all across the board. I listened to these guys back in 2008 when I was just starting out on the first draft of Memento Mori and now, I find myself revisiting their music as I prepare to dive into it again. As we move further and further into The Monstrum Chronicles, the darker and darker situations will become. In Memento Mori, we return to the event that started everything: the Seraphim City tragedy. We get inside four new character’s heads, and two returning characters. It’s ambitious, trying to write six different characters and make it work for the story but I’m confident that I will be able to pull it off. All of these characters are trying to overcome something dark in their pasts and all of them have a reason to be angry about it. That is where Three Days Grace really succeeds in helping me flesh these stories out and bring them to life. Today I’ll be sharing four of their songs with you and writing down what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy.

Animal I Have Become: It was a fusion of quiet rage and numbness that entered his system like a drug. He didn’t show his anger. Instead, he cocked his head as he stared at the man before him, a man he’d treated like a son for a very long time. The disappointment almost didn’t register. He’d had a job to do and he hadn’t done it. It was inevitable that what should happen next was what was deserved. He turned and walked to the table behind him, his fingers curling around the handle of a knife there. “You really should have done what I asked,” he said, turning in one fluid motion. But before he could even take a step, a pang of something foreign struck him. He lost his grip on the knife and it tumbled to the ground. He followed it soon after. What was this? Remorse? This sudden feeling that he was doing wrong. Why was he feeling this way? He looked up at the man and realized that he could probably still be of some use to him. The excuse made him feel better, though what had prompted him to suddenly drop the knife made him troubled. He glared at the man. “Go.” He needed a moment alone and he wasn’t entirely sure what he’d do to anyone else in the room with him.

Pain: The nightclub was hopping that night. A weekend, the perfect time for her to make her entrance. There would be too many people for someone to recognize her and this was the only opportunity she had. She shoved her way through the dancing bodies, smelling their sweat and tasting a sting of adrenaline on the tip of her tongue. She glanced behind the counter of the bar, searching for him, searching for the face that had haunted her nightmares for the last few months. Her heart throbbed and every sound around her was suddenly magnified in her ears. Then, she spotted him. He was handing a couple of shots off to some college girls at the other end of the counter. Her throat became tight. This was it. The moment of truth. She could just say her peace, get an apology, and leave. Then she’d be done with this place. She could get out of there and never have to come back. The closer she got, the more she seemed to lift out of her own body. She was almost there when the nausea became too much for her. She darted for the bathroom, the room suddenly a blur. She spun into the first stall and collapsed on the floor by the toilet, feeling the emotions broiling up inside her. She couldn’t do this. She thought she was ready, but she couldn’t.

Get Out Alive: The fire was all he had connecting him to his past. The more he tried to remember, the more it hurt to. There was a shield there, keeping him from slipping inside his memories. He had the feeling that he was putting himself deeper into something he couldn’t handle alone. But he had no other choice. He had to do it alone. And he had to do it without knowing anything about himself aside from what he’d divined. The door in that burning hell. What had been behind it? Why had he braved the flames in order to reach it? And why was that all he could remember? He hung his head and rubbed at his temples, as if it could help jog things into place. No such luck. The hotel room felt clammy and cold. He got up from the bed and snagged his blazer from the chair at the desk. A walk. It would help. It would take him back to the crime and take him out of his head. At least, that’s what he hoped. (This is from another untitled project of mine that I started a while ago and haven’t yet had the opportunity to finish.)

Home: Being back in the old house had flipped a switch in his head, sent turbulent red memories jostling in his head whenever he looked around. It had been so many years ago. Why didn’t those memories fade? What was the secret to leaving them behind? This house. It was bad. He almost couldn’t remember anything good about it from his childhood, except for the blue kitchen, a place that had always seemed calm. He went there now and slid out a stool to sit on. This was only temporary. He could find a new place to stay once he’d racked up some money. And how long would that take? Every time he shut his eyes, all he could picture was her face, leaning over him, and that triumphant look that had passed over her as she slowly killed him. He couldn’t do it. He stood up and started for the front door. He wouldn’t go back there. He couldn’t. All that he’d done between then and now would have been for nothing.

Next week, we’ll be checking out Emancipator, a band I’ve been listening to while working on Night Time, Dotted Line. Stay tuned!



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