I don't usually write characters with anybody specific in mind. I find these imaginary people somewhere in my head, then spend ridiculous amounts of time getting to know them. I discover things about them that may or may not be relevant to my story, knowing that even if I never use the details, it makes that character so much more real and interesting.
Occasionally, a real person becomes the face of an imaginary person. For example, if "Bad" Brad Pitt ever finds himself out of work (pffft snort!) and the world suddenly becomes perfect and *my book* becomes a *movie* I could recommend him for the role of the 40-something Scottish-Canadian chain smoking slightly creepy but oddly charming trucker dad. Brad would have to grow his hair and beard really long and wear a fake beer belly but I'm confident that he could do a guttural and faded accent. It's a small role but I think he could rock it.
But I digress.
I have found a new muse, people. I found him on Amaaaaaarrrrrican Idol, a show I must watch because I seem to enjoy cringing. It's sweet agony.
This guy got my attention early on. Not because he's a good looking fella, or because he stands out with his guyliner and black nail polish, and not because of his lispy raspy speaking voice and emo hair. Nope, although all of that does fit the character. He gets the part because... THE MAN CAN SING.
Plus, he's a rock star. Some people just ARE. He IS. It's not just an ability to sing or play an instrument well. Heck, lots of rock stars really aren't so good at any of that, let's face it. But to have stage presence combined with skill and talent... that's when the world shifts just a little for people like me.
See, I am not a singer. I like to sing but I know that sometimes I sound really awful. I know good singing though. I grew up listening to my dad and his siblings singing harmony together. My church congregation still sings in four part harmony. Then I married a guy who makes a living off of his freaky sense of pitch, and gave birth to two people who got it too. My daughter Tribble would actually like you to know that she, especially, is freakishly talented. It's true; she's like a pitch-savant if such a thing exists.
I'm not a singer, but I love music. I love the art form.
I know how hard it is to sing in tune in falsetto. I know how hard it is to sing in front of a group of people. I also know that sometimes you watch a performance that shuts you right up, stops the world so you can listen, while your hair stands up on the back of your neck.
Here's Adam Lambert's version of "Mad World" by Tears For Fears, a song I played the heck out of in my very early teens. He's doing his version of a recent piano-vocal cover. It gave me an odd but not unpleasant feeling in my chest.
this is the link to the video from the official site.
And why he's the New Muse:
The love interest in my new book -what, of course there's a LOVE INTEREST, duh- is a bass player in a band gaining some attention. In order to really set up the big problem in the story, I have to know everything about his band. Those guys are like separated twins for this guy. He's the bassist/ songwriter/ mouthpiece of the band. (He's the Nikki Sixx, haha) The drummer is a jazz trained child prodigy. The guitarist is quiet and intense. The singer, frontman, is a stunning talent and good looking. I imagined him months ago as having a serious range and the kind of training that results in every breath and every note and every vibrato being exactly perfectly where it's supposed to be.
This guy has to be able to rock out a shattering shriek but also sing softly and be able to go from one to the other in a heartbeat. I imagined Diamond Dave's ability to sound like he's singing three notes at once, and Freddy Mercury's ability to... well, be basically awesome.
Range, skill, talent, presence.
I now have a real voice to match up with the voice in my head!!!
And he's good looking on top of it!!!
This is pretty exciting.
(I'm still suffering from the Spring Thaw Blues, but this helps.)