What to do when it's not happening

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CageSage
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What to do when it's not happening

Postby CageSage » Mon, 27 Jan 2020 7:16 am


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Rath Darkblade
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:35 am

Sigh. I don't feel disconnected from any story, I just don't have any ideas at all (that don't crash down in flames). :( I don't mean ideas as in the 'mystical', layman terms - "All you need is an idea!" because ideas are a dime a dozen (or, in these inflationary times, perhaps a dollar a dozen). ;)

But I just can't think of anything - not a setting, not a character, not a scene ... nada. Ugh. I wonder if this is what they call "burnout". :( Just to keep my hand in, I've been writing smaller pieces, e.g. limericks, "politically correct" nursery rhymes and so on. But those aren't the same as writing a story. And the more books I read, the fewer ideas I get.

I need a new direction, I need a new setting, I need a lead on an exciting, new setting. I've been wracking my brains and coming up with zip-ola. Sigh ... oh, well. Something will pop up. (But if the setting is Puritan times, then no, it won't). ;) :P

Any ideas?
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Enzed » Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:21 pm

Rath, how about a story set in a musical / entertainment environment? With your experience of people and relationships from the world of music, you can surely think of a plot based on characters you know, have met, or even some you wish to meet. Basing a story on actual knowledge gives credibility to fiction - at least that's my experience of reading and also writing. Basing a story in truth and then creating from the imagination has a ring of authenticity. And so often the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Didn't you travel to the UK to perform with an orchestra? Imagine all the things that could have gone wrong - or even right? Didn't an alien air ship beam you up from right outside Buckingham Palace or was it London bridge? Perhaps you stole the instrument of your dreams and then led the police a merry dance as they tried to catch you? Something along those lines could make a good yarn for the adolescent age group.

You must have extensive knowledge of musical instruments and understand the emotions of people obsessed by classical music. That's a world you know extremely well.

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CageSage
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby CageSage » Mon, 27 Jan 2020 2:30 pm

set in a musical / entertainment environment? With your experience of people and relationships from the world of music


Now that's a story I'd like to read - all the things that can go wrong, and most of them should in a story, and how the protag bends the rules to make sure the 'show gets on the road' - interested?

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Rath Darkblade
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Tue, 28 Jan 2020 4:42 pm

Hmm. Nothing much ever happened to me in the world of music, I'm sad to say. It's been fairly routine and hard work. Sure, I've had (or seen) one or two on-stage disasters, but nothing that couldn't be recovered from. I also met at least one person that I could set as antagonist, but he/she was simply a prima donna, not a story-book "mwa ha ha" evil. ;)

I did travel to the UK, but by myself and for a holiday. However, I did travel to Tassie to be part of a Choir Festival a few years ago. Nothing went wrong, but some things might have that I don't know about. There's a reason this article exists: Ten Tips for Flying with your Musical Instrument. ;) I have read several stories of musicians who were not allowed to take their instruments on a plane, and even one where a musician was not allowed to take a viola string, because a security guard thought it could be used to strangle someone. :shock: Luckily, my throat is my instrument. I don't need any special paperwork for that, but getting sick is a extra-major pain. :(

Some stories of musicians who have had trouble with airlines:

Cellist buys extra seat for his cello, but British Airways stops him from boarding because the instrument 'has no USA entry visa'
Cellist buys ticket for his cello, but airline staff decide the cello is "a security risk"
Ryanair don't let a Scottish pensioner on board with her bagpipes in hand luggage, then call police and the Army
Violinist bullied into leaving Aer Lingus plane after trying to place small violin in overhead locker
United Airlines staff wrestle with violinist and try to take her instrument away

String instruments are very fragile, susceptible to humidity and air pressure, and cost a lot. Some of them cost more than a car. :shock: The musicians carrying them certainly don't need any more stress. Luckily for me, I don't have to worry about that.

So what do I, as a chorister, have to worry about? So much:

1. Props that don't work properly during a play. (It's happened to me a few times. Drat it). :(
2. Props that fall over during a play. (Hasn't happened to me, but I heard some amusing anecdotes). ;)
2. Animals or children that misbehave on stage. (Hasn't happened to me yet, thank $deity$).
3. Falling asleep on stage (it's happened, but not to me and not during a concert).
4. Stagehands that decide to upstage the prima donna. (It's happened many times, but thankfully, not in any show I've been in).
5. A prima donna misbehaving on stage. (It's happened, but again, not in any show I've been in).
6. A prima donna misbehaving off stage. (It's happened to me several times).
7. And of course, the perennial favourite: a director tears his hair out and walks away from the play. :shock: It's happened, but thankfully, not to me or anyone else I know.

Any questions? I can certainly tell some funny, and not-so-funny, anecdotes. ;) The trouble is tying them together ... there's no beginning and no end to this story! :)
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby CageSage » Tue, 28 Jan 2020 7:31 pm

How about some stakes? That might make what someone does to sabotage others into a more compelling story. There are always people who think they should be the one in the spotlight, and they're willing to do [??] to make sure they get that chance. I know it's been done before, but what story hasn't? It's in how you tell the story, how well you demonstrate the inner character, that makes it fly.

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:42 pm

Hmm - whoops! I used "bella donna" in my last post when I meant "prima donna", of course. My mistake.

***WARNING: The following is long. My apologies.***

Stakes? Let's see ... well, what if the play is about vampires (sorry!) :) Or more seriously ... at stake could be a lucrative contract to perform with the Met (i.e. the Metropolitan Orchestra of New York) for a season. The contract then extends for a year, two years etc. if the soloist is any good. Big names like Enrico Caruso, Dame Nellie Melba, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf etc. all did this. Obviously there are more singers than there are roles, so competition is very fierce.

Luckily (or unluckily?) for me, I'm a chorister, not a soloist. There are major differences, among them blend (blending the voices together to sound as one), breath (where and how to take a breath without ruining the sound), intonation (getting the various choristers to sound good together), etc. Soloists don't have to worry about blend, but have to pay lots of attention to breath, intonation, and focus. Soloists can also use more vibrato (to add expression) than the average chorister; some soloists can get away with it, and some pieces even demand it, but if one chorister out of 100 sings vibrato and the others don't, then it just sounds silly. :)

The problem with soloists singing vibrato happens when they do it gratuitously, which we've seen in recent years on TV shows like "Australia's Got Talent" and the like. (Most of these people, sad to say, have no talent at all. They just sing loudly, off-key, and with far too much vibrato - and the audience just laps it up, because "they're so brave!" etc. I guess you can never go wrong with appealing to the lowest common denominator). ;)

So how to turn all this into a story? Hmm. Here's a scenario:

A soloist for the MSO is retiring soon, and the MSO advertises (on their own website) to find a replacement. Two people see it and decide to apply: one is a long-term soloist with a classical company like the RMP (Royal Melbourne Philharmonic), and the other is a recent winner of "Australia's Got Talent". ;) She already has a lucrative contract with AGT, but now she wants one with the MSO.

Why? Because in her opinion, with her media fame and experience at singing rock music, she will be a shoe-in to become a world-famous classical soloist. :P Prestige! More money! Etc. :P

She is received politely, but rejected, and told to go and study music for a few years. (A line for the music director: "Yes - perhaps - if she studies for a few years, she will be a very bad singer". ;) No snobbery here: most people's voices are either suited to classical music or rock music. There's very little cross-over. I've done both, as part of the RMP, and it's very difficult to do both well).

So, what next? At stake is this lady's opinion of herself, as well as (another) lucrative contract. Does she accept that her voice is unsuited to classical singing, resolves to work hard, etc. etc.? Or does she resolve to - deep breath time here - TAKE REVENGE on the STUPID IDIOTS who COULDN'T SEE HER TALENT??? (Insert a few mwa-ha-has, lightning and thunder, etc.) :twisted:

Of course she'll do the latter. How? By taking to social media and besmirching the name of the MSO, the name of the pianist who accompanied her, the names of the conductor and musical director, etc. She'll show them all! Moo-ha-ha-ha! :twisted:

For a few days, all goes amazingly well. Her followers on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram etc. are on her side. Not surprisingly, though, she's burned her bridges with the classical music community. What do they do? Engaging her on social media is unhelpful, to say the least. Releasing a press statement likewise, because it's liable to be misinterpreted. One Committee member (the newbie, perhaps?) suggests: "Why not invite a journalist who wishes to interview us, and set the record straight? I'm sure that when people of goodwill get 'round a table..." and so on.

The other committee members exchange glances, stop themselves from rolling their eyes, and explain to the naive newbie the facts of life. You can't trust journalists. Interviews, like press statements, are a double-edged sword. It all depends on the interviewer is: he absolutely must be impartial. Not "impartial" as in between the fireman and the fire, obviously, but impartial as in being able to see their point of view.

"I see," Newbie says, "So when you say impartial, you mean partial." ;)

Long story short, the Committee decides - in the interests of resolving this manufactured dispute - to invite Miss Big-Head back for an audition, and also to invite in the press. When they see that she can't actually sing, surely ... etc.

Newbie: "But what if she can sing?"

Conductor: "Nonsense. If she could sing, she wouldn't create all this fuss and bother."

Newbie: "Then may I suggest one further improvement?"

Conductor: "Certainly, as long as it is sensible."

Newbie: "Very well. Why not broadcast her audition, live, on YouTube - and advertise it beforehand on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram etc.? Something like: to all her followers - a special event! See your beloved star sing! And so on."

Conductor: "Newbie, that is a--" *hesitates for a second* "--stroke of genius."

Newbie: "Could it be arranged?"

Conductor: "It will be expensive. But perhaps we can arrange for someone else to foot the bill."
======================
The plan works. The newspapers, anticipating either a great triumph or a lamentable disaster, divide the bill between them. Miss Big-Head botches her audition completely and flounces out, vowing never to try it again. Miss Big-Head's online followers ditch her, after seeing how immature she is. The classical singer receives the contract. And everyone is happy! :D
======================
How does that sound?
There is nothing wrong with nepotism, so long as you keep it all in the family. (Winston Churchill)

Enzed
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Enzed » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 1:35 pm

You've got oodles of material Rath.
I don't see why you can't reformat the plot into a novel. Novels sell.
Perhaps chuck in a murder - or attempted murder, by an insanely jealous / stalker type - male or female who 'followed' her on Twitterer or Facebook, and then followed her in person - and you've got a thriller.
Some of those musical instruments could be used to smuggle - whatever - a murder weapon? :o
Go for it - You've surely got the talent.
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby CageSage » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 3:18 pm

Very interesting indeed.

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rkcapps » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 5:19 pm

I always find reading other stories in my genre helps spark my imagination...


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