What to do when it's not happening

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

Postby Rath Darkblade » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 9:02 pm

Enzed wrote: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.


Thanks. :) I've never actually seen something like this happened, I just imagined it. I've witnessed plenty of backstage jealousies, but that's about it. I've never actually been taken into confidences, and never asked for them.

Murder? :shock: Surely not. Not even attempted! Having said that, I've witnessed loads of backbiting and backstabbing - some was even aimed at me - mainly from that prima donna, who made everyone's lives harder for a couple of years. He was a pathological liar who made up stuff to make himself look better, verbally abused some soloists and choristers too. I was relieved when he left, though I believe he was pushed. It was really too bad; he has a great voice, but a crappy personality. :(

No-one can smuggle a murder weapon (or anything else) inside a musical instrument. :) Enzed, maybe you're thinking of the old "shotgun in a violin case" business from all those Hollywood Mafia films? The truth is, a good musical instrument is often hundreds of years old, fragile, and susceptible to humidity. No-one could smuggle a weapon inside a violin - the sound holes are far too small! :) I suppose someone could smuggle a pistol inside a guitar, but it would ruin the guitar. No serious musician would want that - not to mention what would happen if the pistol went off while inside the guitar. :( Sorry to ruin that subplot! :)

All right, if you didn't care at all about your instrument, you might be able to shove a pistol inside a guitar. But how would you get it out again in a hurry? Not to mention, if the musician is flying, they'll scan the guitar ... ;)

So, suppose you're a prima donna. Other than competibg with other soloists over a contract (which can be worth tens of thousands if not more - depends who you're playing with!), the other source of friction could be stage hands, who set the stage for you to act on. If you treat the stage hands right, they'll be gold. If not ... well ... they can get their revenge. :twisted: There's at least one story - it may even be true - about a soprano soloist who annoyed the stage hands. Nothing they did was right. This was a performance of Puccini's "Tosca", supposedly in New York City in 1960 - true or not, I don't know.

This soprano was a pain in the neck. At the end of the opera, after she sings her final "farewell" song, she has to jump off the battlements to her "death" (though, actually, she lands on some pads or a mattress on the other side). :) This soprano kept whining about the pads that were supposed to cushion her fall. The stagehands couldn't put up with her any longer, and substituted the pads with a particularly springy trampoline. :P As Tosca sang her final words and jumped off, the audience was treated to her bouncing back into full view, several times - sometimes cursing, sometimes laughing, sometimes upside down, sometimes the right way up... ;)

The moral is clear: if you are a prima donna, be nice to everyone! :)
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 CageSage » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 9:42 pm

How does that sound?


The first question with the proposed story is: whose story is this?
The answer makes it easier to shape the story to suit the events and progression.

having said that, there's always a new way to look at what happens in a world that not many people know much about -- which is what makes this more interesting to me than it is to you. I know nothing of this world, and would be interested to follow someone as they live it.

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Enzed » Wed, 29 Jan 2020 9:52 pm

CageSage wrote:
How does that sound?


The first question with the proposed story is: whose story is this?
The answer makes it easier to shape the story to suit the events and progression.

having said that, there's always a new way to look at what happens in a world that not many people know much about -- which is what makes this more interesting to me than it is to you. I know nothing of this world, and would be interested to follow someone as they live it.



I feel the same. I know nothing of this world and would be fascinated to read a story set in that environment. It's new to me too.
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Rath Darkblade
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Thu, 30 Jan 2020 9:02 am

CageSage wrote:
How does that sound?


The first question with the proposed story is: whose story is this?
The answer makes it easier to shape the story to suit the events and progression.


Hmm. That is a good question ...... and one not easy to answer, especially when I'm sick. :( All sides - the "Australia's Got Talent" prima donna, the classically trained singer, the musical director (whose final decision it is), even the press - have their own points of view.

Isn't it possible to alternate? I know it's bad form to have four POV characters, but I don't really need the reporter(s) to have his/her/their own POV(s). That leaves three.

The story starts with the departing soloist, and the MSO (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, for anyone who isn't aware) posting an ad on their website. (They sometimes do this - I responded when they advertised for choristers with the MSO. A chorister is simply a member of a choir). :)

Anyway ... we have three major characters:

1. The "Australia's Got Talent" prima donna, aka "AGT";
2. The classically trained singer, aka "classical" (a supporting role); and
2. The musical director-slash-chorus master, aka "master". :)

Chapter 1 could start with AGT's POV. She's just won "AGT", and is hungry for fame and fortune and prestige, etc. etc. She applies for the contract and phones her agent. He advises her to stick with rock music (wise advice), but she tells him she already applied. He says, "Well ... please don't be too disappointed."

Chapter 2 starts when "AGT" meets "classical" in the waiting room, while they wait for an audition. "AGT" is immediately scornful because "classical" was never on TV. "Classical" reserves her opinion; she goes first and sings a few scales and a Mozart aria. "AGT" is again scornful - is that all? She goes next, is thanked, and leaves.

In chapter 3, we meet "master". He is in a difficult position. Artistically, "AGT" hasn't a chance, but PR-wise, she has lots of resources and could make trouble for him. But his job is to create concerts, not to manage prima donnas. He gives her encouraging advice, but suggests she start with something less challenging.

Chapter 4, we switch back to AGT, who is enraged - how dare he! I'll show him! And so on. ;)

I think I'll need to switch between "AGT" and "master" regularly, because there will be things "AGT" knows/is privy to that "master" doesn't/isn't, and vice-versa. So, if I stick with one character the whole way through, the reader will only get half the story. :(

What do you think?
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 CageSage » Thu, 30 Jan 2020 10:54 am

You can have a few different POV perspectives, but who is the main person for this story? Who has the most to lose, learn, or distance to travel? Who changes the most? The difference between a major character and the main character can be a canyon - major character doesn't have to change; main character has the journey of change.
The first scene is usually from the view of the main character; it's a hint to the reader that this person is important, is likely the main character, and is interesting.
Who, in this story, fits the bill? Who has an external need and a strong internal need to change to reach for that goal? (that doesn't mean they have to reach the goal, or succeed at it, only have to have the aim and need/want.)

And I find this difficult, sometimes playing around with beat sheets until I find just the right person for the job. I could offer suggestions, but it wouldn't suit how you work on it, because I don't know anything about this world, or why one character has more to lose than another.

However, I'd lose the 'how dare he!' melodrama - diva tactics are much more prissy/pissy than that, aren't they?

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Fri, 31 Jan 2020 5:06 pm

CageSage wrote:You can have a few different POV perspectives, but who is the main person for this story? Who has the most to lose, learn, or distance to travel? Who changes the most? The difference between a major character and the main character can be a canyon - major character doesn't have to change; main character has the journey of change.
The first scene is usually from the view of the main character; it's a hint to the reader that this person is important, is likely the main character, and is interesting.
Who, in this story, fits the bill? Who has an external need and a strong internal need to change to reach for that goal? (that doesn't mean they have to reach the goal, or succeed at it, only have to have the aim and need/want.)


The main character is probably the AGT diva. She has a loooong journey of change before her, and based on what I've already written about her, she's not going to change. This is, unfortunately, true of many people these days - i.e. they think they're always right and everyone else is stupid. :roll:

Is it a better story if the AGT diva does change? But I do know there's a difference between choirs. For instance, choirs like the RMP one have very high standards - they audition people every two years, monitor voices closely, have a more professional attitude etc. - whereas local choirs are happy for anyone to join without audition, and put up with a lot more rubbish. :P What kind of rubbish? Well, some years ago - when I was in a local choir - we sat there and learned a piece, when suddenly someone's mobile rang. (This is unfortunate but not unusual, even in high-standard places). But this guy just picked up the phone and talked away, oblivious to everyone's withering glares. He finally said "I'm in rehearsal ... yeah ... bye" and hung up. I couldn't believe it. :shock:

If the AGT diva does change, she'd probably have to start in a choir like that and work at musicianship for a few years. I worked away in a local choir (plus doing light opera) for nearly 9 years before I felt ready to audition for the RMP. Even so, it was - and is - always a learning experience. :) If she did that, it would be the end of the story.

The other characters probably don't need to change (much). The classical singer worked her whole life to get this far, and the musical director (aka the conductor) worked even harder.

For me, the story as it stands is a cautionary tale - hubris and nemesis, that's all. :) Is it possible for me to write a beat sheet based around that?

CageSage wrote:However, I'd lose the 'how dare he!' melodrama - diva tactics are much more prissy/pissy than that, aren't they?


Oh, dear. Diva tactics can be extremely unpleasant, but unfortunately they boil down to melodrama. Petty jealousies are common. Divas - real Divas - are usually insecure about their looks and their voice, and they take it out on everyone, even the conductor. :shock: They don't have to be female, either; I've heard some stories about (for instance) Luciano Pavarotti. :|

Before I soil opera's reputation, I must make clear that this sort of behaviour isn't unique to opera. Some pop princesses (and princes) are just as bad: Justin Bieber (caught with drugs, arrested for DUI and assault etc.), Jim Morrison (exposed himself to audience), Lady Gaga (attended baseball games dressed in her underwear, flipped off the press), Britney Spears (danced publicly sans underwear, etc.) ... the list goes on and on.

So yes, I'm underplaying this Diva's tactics. I suppose she could kick the conductor, throw a stool at the piano, and so on - but people would probably call the police. I'd like to make her sneaky and devious, not a complete nutbar. :lol:
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby CageSage » Sat, 01 Feb 2020 10:11 am

Is it a better story if the AGT diva does change?


There's comedy and tragedy - tragedy is the one where the character doesn't change/learn, so yes, you can do that. The reader should be able to want her to change, to beg for her to change, to see the potential for her to change, but when she doesn't, they also understand that it's her fault for not doing what was required.

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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rath Darkblade » Sat, 01 Feb 2020 12:47 pm

OK ... well, that's my question: is it possible to write a beat sheet for a tragedy? *curious* From what I've seen in the Save the Cat book, all the beat sheets there are for "comedy" stories, "inspirational" stories (e.g. Hunger Games), or "adventure" stories (e.g. - again - Hunger Games). ;)

I've googled "beat sheet tragedy", but couldn't find anything.
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Re: What to do when it's not happening

Postby Rkcapps » Mon, 03 Feb 2020 3:31 pm

Think Godfather if you want a backwards journey, John Yorke’s Into the Woods has a good breakdown on how to do this, at least from memory.


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