Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thank You Julie Andrews

I believe that everyone has an inner muse.  When you’re writing out narration, you hear a distinctive voice in your head.   You see and hear the words before they appear on the page.  Maybe you can even hear how your character’s voices sound, their intonation, and you try and capture it best you can.

And for me, for my very first novel, that voice belonged to Julie Andrews. ‘Sound of Music’ Julie Andrews to be exact.  – Not to be confused with ‘Mary Poppins’ Julie Andrews.

Yes, those very first lines of the very first pages, I felt lost.  I knew the story I wanted to tell but it had been so long since I’d sat down to write, that I didn’t know where to begin.

“Right then!” A distinctive English voice popped into my head. 

“They say the day Gretchen Grey was born, strange things began happening around the Grey household.”

“They did?”

“Absolutely.”

“Right then.” And with a confirming nod, I started to type.  Julie led me through the first three chapters of my book and when I really got rolling, and the words were coming fast and my fingers tappedity tapped a mile a minute, Julie twirled and whirled around my bedchambers (cause she refused to call it a ‘bedroom’) in creative bliss.

When she had given me the entire backstory for my book, she started to fade and dwindle as I took over the action and progression of the characters she helped me create.

And some time later, yes, I was obligated to remove the backstory altogether to be sure the reader was thrown right into the action.  But I keep it very close to heart and at least I know one other person is aware of all that took place before the ‘real’ story came into its own.

So thank you Julie Andrews!

Did anyone else have a distinctive ‘muse’ ?

19 comments:

Cheree said...

I hate to admit it, but my muse is often my characters telling me what they want to do (often when I get writers block they're being stuborn and won't move). If they want to speak, the characters are the best ones to listen to.

Clara said...

Yes! But that was the Brave Heart movie soundtrack. I dont know why, I always feel inspired by scottish instrumental songs.
But it must have been just incredible having mrs. Andrews voice guiding you, I love her. Way to start a novel in style, girl.

MissV said...

Did you find yourself slipping into an English accent when you talked to people?

I'm vulnerable to accents. I mimic them without intending to, so then people think I'm making fun of them. Argh.

Love the line "the day Gretchen Grey was born, strange things began happening around the Grey household."

I'm a sucker for strange things....

Slamdunk said...

Ha, yes a British-sounding male voice--otherwise unidentified.

Jen said...

This is fantastic!! Can I say that I'm super jealous that you have Julie Andrews as your distinct muse! I've never actually thought about it so for now I will have to ponder this... however I hope that I have someone guiding me with an english airy accent :)

One can only happen strange things happens to them, it makes life that much more interesting along the way!

Matthew Rush said...

Not in the way you describe but I love that that's how it happened for you, how cool!

Also Julie Andrews is the best and The Sound of Music is her best.

I still tear up whenever I hear Edelweiss.

Laura Marcella said...

Luck you! Julie Andrews is a wonderful voice for your muse! Hmm, I haven't really thought about my muse. How rude of me. I must pay closer attention. Gosh, I sure hope my muse has some kind of unique accent!

JustineDell said...

I liked her best in Mary Poppins. That's like my fav movie, ever. It's so cool you had her as muse. My muse doesn't have a cool voice. It's just me, really. Boring, right? ;-)

Man, I wish my brain could have come up with something better. A cool voice like Sean Connery!!

~JD

KarenG said...

I'm so jealous of all you writers who have muses hovering near by. My muse is even more reclusive than I am. Can't hear her, see her, sense her-- nothing! Or maybe it's a him? But a British accent would definitely be nice.

Candyland said...

My muse is more of a Mike Tyson type. She karate chops me if I don't do my characters justice.

Laura Pauling said...

Great post. I love the Sound of Music. And whatever better muse to have to reveal the backstory to you!

jmartinlibrary said...

Music, music, music. In thinking about the plot, characters, etc. I listen to a lot of music. Especially The Beatles. *adopts faux Liverpool accent.* So I guess you could say Lennon & McCartney are my muses, love.

Bish Denham said...

That is SO cool!

Falen said...

hmm, i don't know if i've ever actually "heard" a voice of my character. Oh wait, i'm sure i have. I just can't remember a specific incident

Tahereh said...

oh great story!

i wish i had a real muse, but i don't. :( i just kind of write. just because. (weird, i know.)

ALTHOUGH-- i did write a book that was inspired by a song. it was rather coincidental.

hehe. so there.

perhaps i had a muse?

great post!

Matthew Rush said...

Not sure how else you reach you CQG so I'll put it here.

My email is mattmrush (at) gmail (dot) com

mattmrush@gmail.com

Lydia Kang said...

I have no such muse, but it certainly would be helpful for those times I needed to talk it out with someone re: my writing!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Ah Julie! Mary Poppins still gets me excited whenever it's on TV! :) Um, nope I don't think I have a muse ...

Talli Roland said...

I love that your muse is Julie Andrews! That's brilliant! I can't say I have a particular muse, to to speak. Yours sounds pretty cool!

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