Today my muse decided that it has a mad, mad desire to write an Instrumental Duel with the Fey story–starring a tuba player.
Because here’s the thing, y’all. You pick up a novel where the lead character is a musician, that musician is probably going to be playing one of a set of “sexy” instruments. This isn’t just a fantasy novel thing, though god knows fantasy has its share of fiddle players and guitarists and flautists and harpists–mystery and romance are guilty of this, too! (And yes, I say this fully cognizant of the fact that I’ve got four, count ’em, four musicians in Faerie Blood–a violinist and a bouzouki player as the lead characters, as well as a guitarist and a whistle player in the supporting cast.)
But you know what you don’t get? Books that show love to the less sexy instruments, and do so in a non-comedic fashion. Anybody out there EVER read a serious story about an accordion player? How about the French horn? And I say right now that I will hand over a free copy of Faerie Blood to anybody who can find me a serious novel about a tuba player. Until that happens, I am totally going to write one.
And this will be a serious, actual fantasy novel in which the tuba player gets to save the day. I don’t know yet what the plot will be, other than that I wish to screw around with the Instrumental Duel With the Fey trope–only this time, the guy that’s going to be bringing it is going to bringing it with a tuba.
Once I decided I was going to do this, this guy immediately started taking shape in my brain. Tonight’s writing-related thing was opening a character file about him, to jot down all the thoughts bouncing around about him.
I know this much: his name is Oscar Beck, he is a prototypical gawky nerd type, and the one thing in life he is awesome at is that he can pull music out of a tuba to make an audience weep. He reads like a crazy reading thing as well because music and books are way less scary than interacting with actual people, and so he’s a big, big fan of Lord Peter Wimsey, as an example of a hero who is a) awesomely brilliant, b) a musician, and c) not handsome in the slightest, yet possessed of thermonuclear charisma! He would rather die than admit it to anybody as well, but he has totally nicknamed his tuba the Horn of Helm Hammerhand, because he is an utter Tolkien geek and he loves him some Battle of Helm’s Deep.
Oscar, it’s delightful to meet you. And boy, are YOU going to be surprised when you find out that girl in the last chair of the oboe section is way, WAY more unusual than she seems. Not to mention that you and the Horn are going to have to save the city. And possibly the world.
Props to kathrynt for suggesting some examples of tuba-oriented classical music–because to get a better idea of what Oscar is like, I’m going to want to listen to examples of what an incredibly well played tuba should actually sound like. Anybody out there have recommendations, fling ’em at me! Props as well to technoshaman for giving Oscar his last name!