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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The power of music and names

Curious to discover the impact music has on people and animals David Merrill set up an experiment using mice.  He wanted to know whether different types of music would impede or enhance the animals learning patterns and behaviour.

For one group of mice he played classical music twenty-four-seven, and the second group listened to heavy metal over the same time period.

He released the first group into a maze and studied their learning abilities and social behaviour patterns. At the same time he released the second group of mice into a similar maze.  Unfortunately the second group of mice never reached the end of the experiment because they set about and killed each other.  Needless to say David Merrill abandoned the experiment. 

The film industry has known about the impact of music on human behaviour for decades.  They use it to add influence to their scenes and, to a certain extent, to control their audiences’ reactions.  You only have to ‘listen to the kind of music used in horror, Halloween, ghost and other paranormal films.

This powerful tool is not available to authors so what can they do to subliminally influence their reader’s attitude towards certain characters?  Obviously actions, physical appearance and attitudes all play a part, but in the real world not all antagonists are ugly, badly educated, ignorant, and uncouth.  Many are suave and sophisticated, and use their looks and charms to play their victims.

But there is another tool in a writers’ arsenal.


 In my debut novel, The Brat, published by The Wild Rose Press, Denny Cadmore was ‘the baddie’.  With a name like Cadmore what other part could he play?  The use of an old fashioned term ‘cad’ subliminally inserts the information they’ve met the antagonist and then verifies it as the reader progresses into the story.

In my current novel Duty Calls, published by Black Opal Books, the hero insisted on the name ‘Hawk’.  Eventually we agreed on Rafe Hawk.  A Hawk is a bird of prey, tenacious, patient and goes for what it perceives as beneficial to it.  i.e. Its wits and intelligence to catch  its prey to feed and stay alive in times of adversity.

In my upcoming novella, From Now Until Forever, published by Astraea Press, my hero is a prince.  After all there’s been a spate of royal weddings around the world, while the interest is high.  I gave my prince the surname Gasquet, simply because Henri Gasquet, the French tennis player is amazing to watch.  I gave him the name Liam because the second in line to the British throne, Prince William, married his Kate just a few days before I began writing From Now until Forever, and I saw no reason for not following the trend and cashing in while I could. LOL.

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Debby said...

I do like this post. You did a great job!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Na said...

I read this post before, but I don't think I commented on the name of your hero, Hawk in duty calls. I agree with you fully, a hawk does bring to mind intelligent predator. They are patient, observant and ready to pounce.

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks for stopping by Debbie, I appreciate your company and comment.
I hope you're enjoying your Halloween w,end.

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks Na. I kinda have a soft spot for Rafe. He's flawed but willing to accept he's made mistakes and tries to put them right.

Jean P said...

Fantastic names for your characters, enjoyed reading your post!

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks Jean P. I had great fun coming up with Cadmore. He truly lived up to his name! LOL :-)