The Music of the Lonely Dark

Author of The Lonely Dark, Ren Warom, takes time out to tell us about the music behind the writing. Enjoy. – Aunty Fox.

The Music of The Lonely Dark

I don’t work to music. I’m one of those terribly dull types who functions best in silence. However, I am frequently inspired by music; sound landscapes opening story landscapes in my head that I can revisit by listening to particular tracks. I think it’s rather common for this to happen, whether it be an artist, writer, or another musician – music seems to reach in and open doors inside of you, showing you places or connections you didn’t know were there.

I live in future worlds in my head, they’re the ones I cleave to. Strange worlds on the whole. When I sit down to write, however serious my intent (NB: I’m no nowhere near intellectual enough to be serious in my writing, but I suffer from unfortunate delusions of literature. Yeah. *Eyeroll*), I get sidetracked by odd details, weird little moments crop up and spread like bacteria until all attempts at the serious (or rather, I suppose, the intellectual) have been eaten alive.

Think of it like a vampire virus in blood; the weird gradually gobbling every sane moment until only the skin and meat jacket look similar. Remaining so until that moment the inner weirdness is revealed in sharp fangs and predatory intent, provoking the expectation/reality shockwave created by the illusion of normality. Gosh… that makes my writing sound waaay sexier than it is, so I’m going to run with it. Possibly to Paris. Or Gretna Green, because I’m cheap. Or rather because I’m poor. So romantic!

I appear to be digressing. Habit.

On rare occasions the strangeness infecting my writing comes in the form of musical inspiration. Lyrics that reach under the skin and mutate the words even before I can begin to build them into a story. So it was with The Lonely Dark. I first discovered Purity Ring when one of the YouTubers I watch included them in a roundup of her favourite music. The track she mentioned was called Fineshrine and, accompanied by a wonderfully surreal video, it made me want to know who this Purity Ring were.


They are, to my delight, a Canadian electro-pop duo, and everything they do is just as wonderful strange as Fineshrine. The combination of eerie, beautiful music mixed with the peculiarity of the lead singer’s lyrics, all sung in her slightly child-like voice creates atmospheres of dreaming incongruity to become lost in. It was this atmosphere, as well as a combination of certain lyrics, that infested the DNA of The Lonely Dark. Changed it at a fundamental level from a story of exploration and horrifying discovery to one with an underlying tone of loss, loneliness and the too-real unreality of dreams.

Throughout the writing of The Lonely Dark, in moments when driving or doing household chores, or when my inspiration lagged and words refused to come, I would listen to Purity Ring and the world would open to me all over again, bringing me home when I was lost. I didn’t quite capture exactly what I wanted to (and oh how familiar is that? The frustration of writers everywhere!) but I am very proud of the story I created and I hope you might find in it some of what I sought to express.

Listen to Purity Ring. Read The Lonely Dark (Please!). If you can, do both together. They do, after all, share DNA.

NB: Just how many times did I write strange and/or weird in this thing? Where’s Roget when you need him!