Influences of Once: Part I

I’ve covered my varying topics of influence in the past, but today I want to get in-depth with my influences. As I’ve mentioned probably a dozen times in the past, my key influences behind the Once series are more than just books. They travel from the movie screen, to an i-Pod, to a television set, to an athletic playing field, to real life events. In my readings, I’ve had influences from the Harry Potter series, historical fiction, and sports-fiction books. On the movie screen, Star Wars and Fast and Furious have influenced several avenues in my work. As for the i-Pod (or youtube), I cannot stress enough how well bands and music groups such as Nightwish, Xandria (may have inspired more than just motivation), DragonForce, Two Steps from Hell, Within Temptation, and Blackmore’s Night are just a handful of influence. Listening to these groups form pictures within my mind unlike any other mainstream group could ever do. As for the television set, College Football Saturday and NFL Sunday played a major, major role despite football being replaced by a fictional sport called shotball (fictional worlds need fictional games), but I’ll get to these influences later. The main television shows that influenced my work are Avatar: The Last Airbender and former ABC hit series Lost. Real life events, both old and new have heavily influenced Once, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Vietnam War, the War on Terror, and even the budding North Korean conflict. The last one was probably more of an influence than anything else. Intertwine all of these, and you have Once.

So, I want to break down my categories and talk about just one influence at a time, and what sorts of elements from these influences are present in the work. Today, I want to focus mainly on the television set influences. Why? This is because the influences shown here are abundant, and I mean very abundant. We have two prime influences here: Last Airbender and Lost. I’m going to give away a little bit here, but it won’t have anything to do with the plot. However, you will see the fantasy aspects as they pertain to Once.

Let’s begin with Last Airbender, because there are many influences here regarding the “abilities” of many of my main characters. So, I decided to combine the element control in Last Airbender with what is known as the Stoicheion elements in Greek mythology. In a sense, there are four elements present in the original Last Airbender series whereas in what is known as the Stoicheion elements, there are five (water, earth, fire, wind, and void, yet I capitalize the ‘V’ which is important, but we won’t go there). I’ve always envisioned a series where my main characters knew how to control elements, though they do so a little differently than what is shown in Last Airbender if anyone is familiar with the series. And again, we have more than just element control here, so I’m expanding on what Last Airbender put into fruition. For one, some characters can control what I’ve dubbed the Philosophic elements, which are blood, metal, and wood. Others can travel by controlling certain elements, or have an ability to disappear and reappear somewhere else. Some can invade the minds of others, while other characters can defend their mind from invasion. Some can communicate with the other side, since there is a spirit world involved with this work, while others can even morph between the physical world and the spirit world.

Moving on to Lost, the TV show that literally played with my mind from 2004 to 2010. Wow, is there another show out there involving so many different twists and turns? The very second Lost ended, which coincidentally was roughly the same time I started writing my first drafts of Once, I knew it was going to play a very important role in the series. At the time, Lost was rated among the top ten in many different TV series rankings. The twists, turns, adventure, challenging the laws of physics, and making things not always what they seem had to find a place in Once, and spoiler alert, it has. Mythology, mystery, and everything scattered in between adds fuel to this little fire I call Once, and bear in mind that I love to bring out my own personal M. Night Shyamalan.

That does it for today’s word, and stay tuned, because I’ll be posting a nice little plot synopsis in the coming days. Things will be heating up quickly here, and hopefully we can get this work onto shelves soon enough.

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