Thursday’s Children April 11, 2013

Inspired by “The Piano”

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

About 10K into my current WIP, I needed to find a piece of music. Something that my MC could dance to, that would give her ALL THE FEELS. And something that would give me ALL THE FEELS too, so I could write about her. It needed to be timeless, instrumental.

The song that came to mind is The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman, from “The Piano”. I hadn’t actually thought of either the song or the movie for years, though I adored the film when it came out in 1993. It has all the elements I crave in a movie, or a book for that matter – passion, tragedy, obsession, suspense, beautiful scenery, and a strong female lead. And by strong, I mean someone with a will of steel and an indomitable spirit. perhaps hidden behind a quiet demeanor. Maybe a survivor. Someone who will risk everything for love.

Want to hear something strange? I’d already written my MC as a selective mute when I went looking for a song. I’d forgotten Ada (the MC in “The Piano”) was a selective mute until I watched the video. You can see she wears a small pad on a ribbon around her neck, and her daughter uses sign language. Orla, my MC, uses her cell phone a lot.

If you’ve never seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Here’s the song…

Has a particular film influenced your writing, subconsciously or otherwise?

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38 thoughts on “Thursday’s Children April 11, 2013

  1. Now I need to see The Piano again. It’s been years. Lovely song. Although I didn’t realize it until afterward, my trilogy was deeply influenced by the movie Gladiator. I can still be taken to my own world by the music of Lisa Gerrard, who sang on the soundtrack and did the theme song, Now We Are Free. Another inspiring post, Rhiann!

  2. Oh, Orla sounds interesting! Did you know sign language before you started writing Orla’s story? I’m curious bec I used to work as an ASL interpreter and I found Deaf culture absolutely fascinating. It’d be awesome to read a story with a main character who uses Sign Lang, doesn’t seem like there are very many out there.

    I think I’ve been inspired by pretty much all of Steven Spielberg’s films. Oh and Star Wars too- I think George Lucas & Steven Spielberg have a way of romanticizing their main characters & though I’m nowhere near as skilled at character development as they are I admire their work and probably subconsciously emulate it to the best of my ability.

    • Orla doesn’t use sign language, she uses her cell to text and write notes. She chooses not to speak. One of my college roomies majored in deaf ed. Fiona and Ada (in “The Piano”) did use some sign language and I believe Holly Hunter taught Anna Paquin how to sign. Holly also did her own piano work.

  3. She wasn’t selectively mute, but I had a friend in school who was Deaf but did not sign. She was one of the first people I knew with a “talking” laptop, and that was how she communicated most of the time. I still haven’t seen The Piano. I was in middle school and too cool for school when it came out and never got back around to it.

  4. What a beautiful song!

    I love the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. The themes in it are the same ones I try to capture in my writing: struggle, redemption, the strength and endurance of the human spirit. Maybe that sounds lofty for a romance novelist, but I like to think I’m answering a higher call 🙂

  5. I haven’t seen The Piano for years but it is a beautiful film. I think movie soundtracks have the power to turn good films into great films – Gladiator and Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet springs to mind – in my opinion the best soundtracks out there! I’m glad you’ve found the perfect piece of music for your MC.

      • It was filmed at Kare Kare, about an hour from where we were living (in Auckland) at the time. So the familiarity added another level to the movie. Although it was set in colonial times, I’ve tramped up there in the rain, and can totally identify with the mud… Is beautiful though.

  6. I love this movie, and I still often listen to its soundtrack. Interesting to hear your MC is a selective mute… we both seem to like the challenge of a MC with communication issues 😉

  7. I never saw that movie, but I love the song. It’s funny how a song can do that, isn’t it? Just totally define a character in your head. All my characters are definitely defined by whatever music I was listening to while writing them.

  8. I love it when “strange” coincidences like this happen when writing. I’ve experienced my share and it’s such an incredible feeling. The song and your story sound beautiful. I can’t wait to CP. *rubs hands together* P.S. I don’t believe in coincidences 🙂

    • Me too. And me either. I had so many weird things happen when I was writing my first book, I wish I’d written them down because now I’ve forgotten all but two.

  9. First of all, this song is fabulous.

    Second, I love this: “And by strong, I mean someone with a will of steel and an indomitable spirit. perhaps hidden behind a quiet demeanor. Maybe a survivor. Someone who will risk everything for love.” I think too often people say “risking everything for love” is weak. They say that a strong person wouldn’t give up or risk everything for someone else. I don’t believe that, and I love that you acknowledge the bravery and strength behind such a risk.

    As for my work, well. I continuously find inadvertent Beauty & the Beast similarities and references. Go figure.

  10. Funny how we make those links, whether intentional or not!

    I’m more influenced by films than books. Something about the audio-visual cinematic experience that stays with me. Plus, the shorter, stronger scenes and set-pieces from films are much more memorable for me. They always serve as a subconscious piece of inspiration for my work!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. If I were to write (and I don’t think I’m disciplined – or uninhibited- enough to do it) movies & novels like Love in the Time of Cholera, Housekeeping, and Like Water for Chocolate would be influential. Genealogical research would be too.

    • The first is on my “to see” list, and I did see the third when it first came out and liked it very much. I’ll have to go look up the second… Writing does take discipline, but fiction is the perfect place to let go of inhibitions 🙂

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