Aural Autumn: Queen of the Rodeo

What does it take to write 50,000 words in the month of November?

Perseverance, flexibility, a constant desire to balance writing time with work and family, and, maybe most important of all, a story that’s deeply personal to you. These are the elements that, for me, have made my first two forays into National Novel Writing Month a success. That’s right! As of last Thursday, at around 1:30 PM, I reached a grand total of 51,054 words in my latest book, The Wrath and the Base. I’m a winner!

NaNo Winner Page

While working on my book for this year’s NaNoWriMo, one song in particular helped me keep a solid image of a decimated world — as well as the grim hope that a few remaining survivors may carry — in mind. That song is “Queen of the Rodeo,” by the inimitable Akira Yamaoka.

Yamaoka is nothing short of a brilliant video game composer and sound designer, and he has filled almost the entire Silent Hill series with otherworldly sounds and songs that, for all intents and purposes, continue to make that nightmare world linger in the hearts and minds of so many gamers. However, he’s not all about industrial grating and oppressive soundscapes; quite a few of Yamaoka’s songs are deeply moving and hit the right emotional chords. Take “Queen of the Rodeo” for example:

This is the song that plays during the “Results” screen, once you’ve completed the game and brought Heather Mason’s story to a bittersweet end. Her father was murdered, her Agnostic beliefs were put to the test, and her past came back to claim her in the form of a cult’s doomsday plan, one which relied on Heather giving birth to a god that would cleanse the world with fire and brimstone. Without a doubt, many of these plot points have inspired the twists and turns that I’ve written in my newest book. I also admire Heather for her tenacity, no-bullshit attitude, and slight immaturity, three traits that I imbued my main character, Rayland, with. No matter how many times I listen to “Queen of the Rodeo,” it still manages to fill me with a sense of relief. The horror is over, and our protagonist has grown by leaps and bounds. My hope is to write a similar conclusion for Rayland here in the next couple of weeks. I hope you’ll join me in seeing just where his story ends 🙂

That’s all for this week’s Aural Autumn! I hope you enjoy “Queen of the Rodeo,” and I’d be interested to know what kinds of feelings or imagery it brings up for you. Please look for my NaNoWriMo 2017 report next Tuesday. In the meantime, have a great weekend and keep on blogging!


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