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.

Amazon, Kindle, Nook and several other e-outlets.


Na said...

An interesting post. I'm surprised at how negatively the music impacted the mices but in general music can be pretty influental in moods and other things. I like to music because it can relax or motivate me.

Debby said...

I love music. it serves many purposes
debby236 at gmail dot com

Jean P said...

Very interesting how the different types of music affected the mice. Great post.

Sherry Gloag said...

:-) Na, I don't generally have music playing when I write but if I do I prefer classical or New World music.
Thanks for coming by and commenting.

Sherry Gloag said...

I agree Debby. Thanks for your company today and your comments.

Sherry Gloag said...

Jean P, I found the experiment with the mice kinda scary too.
Thanks for coming by and for your comment.