Writing process

What does Fergus Burns sound like?

Famous non-classical baritones. (This picture comes straight from the Wikipedia entry List of Baritones in Non-Classical Music


The predominant feeling among the line sevens right now was a baritone eddy of hope. It hadn’t been there before, and it sounded a lot like Fergus.



Back in Linesman, we never really gave much thought to the sound of line seven.  We knew what it did (even back then), but the sound?  There was that one throwaway line about it being a baritone and not much else.

When you’re writing a trilogy you don’t always consider how what you write in book one will impact what you write in future books.

Sometimes, serendipitously, something you write sparks an idea that becomes ‘the’ idea for a new story.

Terry Rossio, writer on Pirates of the Caribbean, once said, “Who knew the throwaway line, ‘Clearly, you’ve never been to Singapore’ would turn into movie three?” [Paraphrased here, because I can’t find the original quote.]

And sometimes you write throwaway lines like ‘a baritone eddy of hope … sounded a lot like Fergus’ and realise later that you never really thought of Fergus Burns as a baritone.  You’ve always thought of him as a tenor.

You can’t change something that’s written.  It took all of book two and part of book three to get into the mindset.  Fergus is a baritone. Fergus is a baritone. His voice is deeper than you think it is.

We’re getting there.

Elvis Presley was a baritone.  So were David Bowie and Johnny Cash.

Right now, we’re imagining his voice as a cross between Elvis Presley and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.






4 replies on “What does Fergus Burns sound like?”

That is really funny. I pictured/heard – not sure what the right word is – him as a tenor as well. I must have missed that line?.

As a reader you are free to overlook what the author says and let your imagination picture (hear) a character as you want. Sadly, can’t do that when you’ve written the words.

I have recently seen a commercial from the Banff Arts Centre that makes me feel the lines. The commercial depicts an elderly man in his underwear on his hands and knees, beside him is an Asian or Native American man in a tuxedo. The guy in the tuxedo opens the back of the elderly man to reveal a keyboard and, begins to play the elderly man as an instrument. The sound is amazing. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to post a link to this, I’m not very savvy that way but please check it. Thanks

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