Browsing Tag

give it up for the tuba players


Character research counts

Yesterday’s general exhaustion continues, so no new words tonight–instead, I started listening to the album of tuba concertos I purchased from iTunes, just to see what it stirs up in the way of story ideas.

I’m finding that just jotting down notes about what the various pieces make me think of is a useful exercise. This, I think, will give me some concepts I can maybe work into my boy’s story somehow.

And I can definitely tell just by listening to the first four pieces on the album that one, a smoothly-played tuba actually sounds pretty awesome. Especially if the piece is an allegro one, which gives you deep, fast, runs of notes that can be evocative of something big moving very quickly. I’m finding myself thinking of bears, of avalanches in storms, of dolphins racing whales deep underwater. I need to listen to the rest of the album and maybe another one or two to know for sure, but I definitely find myself wondering if this story’s going be in a non-urban setting. (Which would sit well with me, given that I’m in the mood to avoid a lot of the tropes you find in urban fantasy right now, and writing a non-urban fantasy would be an excellent way to do that.)

Two, it’s kind of unfortunate that the particular recording I’m listening to has obvious places where the performer is hauling in a breath, but on the other hand, I expect that’s almost unavoidable given how much air you need to get through a tuba to get it to make decent music. This however tells me that my boy Oscar, whatever social skills and graces he may like, has excellent lung capacity. 😉 It also tells me that I totally want him to be able to play smoothly and liquidly, like several of the stretches of music I’m hearing on here.

(For those of you who are interested, the tracks I’ve listened to so far are three parts of a concerto by Edward Gregson, and now I’m working on a concerto by Roger Steptoe. The Vaughn Williams in F minor is on here, too; I’ll get to that.)

Three, listening to music in the name of character research rocks.

ETA: Correcting Vaughn Williams’ last name since both userinfokathrynt and userinfowrog have told me I got it wrong. Oops! Thanks, folks.

Mirror's Gate, Research

Tired tonight

But I did throw about 200 words into Chapter 2 of Mirror’s Gate, and therefore have done something writing-related! Thus, I can go to bed with a clear conscience.

Thanks by the way to everybody who has made such encouraging comments about the appearance of Oscar on my character radar! Props to userinfosticckler in particular for finding me fiction that stars tuba-playing protagonists (although I note that in all cases, they’re all general fiction and not fantasy, mystery, or romance, so I’d be REAL interested to see if anybody could find me genre novels that fit the bill). She’ll be getting that copy of Faerie Blood I promised!

And I’ve already watched a few of the YouTube video links userinfokathrynt and userinfowrog provided, just to get a feel of how classical tuba music should sound. Some good stuff there, and it begins to give me an idea of what I want Oscar’s own music to sound like, but I need to listen to more. I’ve found an album called “British Tuba Concertos” on iTunes, which includes the Vaughn one in F minor, and I do believe I’ll be buying that; there’s a really nice-sounding Gregson on here too if the preview I’m listening to is any indication. I hear some nice smooth playing here.

It’ll be a while yet before Oscar gets an actual story, I think; I am still mulling that. I can add though that this boy has absolutely no magical talent inherent to himself whatsoever. He’s bog-standard human, and as previously mentioned, his music is his one awesome skill. Now, in the usual Instrumental Duel With the Fey type of story, the mortal always wins the day because the music of humanity is supposed to be Just as Awesome as Magic–but I don’t think I’ll quite play it that way, since that’s the Expected Way, and the whole point of this is to screw around with the trope.

But it’s all good. I’ll listen to the music and let myself randomly brainstorm and see what it tells me! Woo, buying iTunes music in the name of character research! 😉

And ha. I need a suitable tuba playing icon for posts about Oscar, I think!