Friday, May 24, 2013

Back Again (And a Novel)

So I'm back again, and actually it's from more than one thing.  I am of course back to posting on here (which I will try to be doing on a semi-regular basis again), but I am also back from a school trip over the past couple of days, and back to health (sort of) after what may have been a cold, but may have also been allergies, not sure which.

So I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but this semester my school year is pretty low-key.  I only have the one core class happening right now along with a few options (three of which are musical options) so that gives me a lot of time to do a lot of nothing.  With all this time to spare I quickly found ways to fill it other than being in class.  My most recent way of doing that is watching what is now my favourite show, "Castle".  I already did a post about how I got writer blocked by them but never-the-less, it's still amazing.  As a writer myself (just like the main character in the show) I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from the show and one of the things I've thought about recently as a result of it was the fact that a lot of stories in movies and books and TV aren't as far fetched as we think sometimes.  Sure, the sci-fi channel doesn't exactly reek of reality but some of the plot devices that we sometimes take as exaggeration can really be true.  That got me thinking, and thinking got me... well thinking some more actually, and here's what I came up with.  Looking back at my own life, I realize that sure there have been some pretty boring moments, but a lot of the things I do and have done would make a pretty awesome story.  The only thing is that if I were to make a movie or TV show out of the key events in that timeline, there would be a lot of obscure references to things that happened "off camera".  Everything tends to play a part in new experiences.  For example:

Main character is on a band trip.  He's liked a girl that's on the trip with him for a while and it's a good opportunity for him to get a little closer to her.  They have a few moments that really stick: maybe she needs help with the tie on her uniform, they both wake up a little earlier than the others and spend a little time grabbing tea...

Good story, but where's the background?  Well then you go back a little bit:

Main character joins the live orchestra for the school musical.  Who else joins it too but this girl he's started to take an interest in.  That works out to his advantage a little because it's a little bit more of a secluded setting and there's no one else to get in the way of them interacting.  Of course the orchestra is invited to the big success party after all of the shows have been performed and they bump into each other a few times, hear a couple of good stories together, suddenly bam, that's an experience to talk about later, an excuse to talk again.

Hm, not bad but where does he actually know her from?  Ok, well just a little further back I suppose:

Main character shows up for his first day of a new school year.  He has an awesome full year class that essentially revolves around playing music with a band.  When you divide a class up into 3 groups you get to know your own group pretty well pretty quickly.  Maybe he knows a few of them from the previous year, but not really in the same caliber that he is going to know them by the time they get even half way through the year.  Maybe the band leader is kind of a cutie, who's a little crazy sometimes, but really fun.  It would be very easy for the main character to take an interest.

This is really starting to shape up isn't it?  Just if the main character knew this girl from before, where was that from?  Oh well yeah:

Main character get's roped into playing a gig for the school near the beginning of the year at one of the ice-breaking trips.  One of the girls that goes with him and the others turns out to be one of the people who did the same gig the previous year.  Way back then, how would our fearless protagonist know that she would be leading his band the next year?

Well that makes sense then doesn't it?  Solid timeline, good story.  Boy meets girl from school, probably in a lot of the same classes, yada yada, we've seen it before.  The thing is, to make a good story really great it needs a little something extra.  Something to break the monotony.  Usually that should have something to do with the characters:

Maybe this girl is a grade ahead, but she's really only 2 months older.

Aha, so there you go.  That adds a little bit of complication doesn't it?  A grade ahead means that not only is this girl surrounded by other guys that she is not only more familiar with, but are also quite possibly better looking.  There's an immediate challenge for the main character.  Another thing that good stories have is a looming problem, especially in a series (and let's face it, life is more like a series that a single movie).  Well our grade difference creates that looming problem too.  What happens if the main character succeeds and gets the girl?  She's going to graduate before him.  Suddenly that's another challenge for them to tackle, but by that time in the story, everyone who's keeping tabs on the characters will have some optimism.  They made it this far right?

Of course we could go one further still and say, "well if they are only 2 months apart, why is she a grade ahead of him?"  Oh well that's easy:

Main character is a December birthday and his parents decided to start him in school a year later because of it.

It could go on forever really.  There's a story in everything, and that's what makes TV so awesome, especially shows like "Castle", they radiate truth of life, with just enough fiction to keep things interesting all the time.

So, let's recap.  Reading those little snippets individually you might be thinking, "hm, pretty good premise..."  But let's take a minute and throw them all together.  For the sake of the story, we'll stop referring to the characters as "the main character" and "the girl" and give them actual names.  Since everyone is really the main character of their own story we'll call our protagonist "Nick".  Of course our girl needs a name too, so let's just call her "Mayzie".  Let's take a look at what our story looks like as a whole:

*note: I got a little carried away with this story, so I will include the first bit here in this entry, and then make you come back a few times to read the rest of it.

7:45.  That's what the sheet said, but was that the time everyone was expected to be there?  No, of course not.  Sure Nick was late, but it didn't really bother him.  If Mr Marks wasn't going to tell him what time to be there then he'd just have to deal with it if he was late.  Yeah that was a great way to start the morning before they left.  The school band was headed off to their annual band tour in less than an hour and they were just finishing packing up the equipment.

Nick dropped his luggage with the rest of the suitcases and backpacks waiting to be tucked into the bottom of the bus by a group of grade 10 students.  Keeners, he thought to himself with a tad of disgust.  A lot of the younger students bugged him to no end, and he couldn't help brooding over their inherent favouritism by Mr Marks, the band teacher, as he ascended the stairs to the upper floor of the school.  He stopped at the top and adjusted his "carry-on" backpack, then trudged on to the band room.  These mornings were killing him slowly, and had been since he got into the senior band last year in grade 10.  Why do I even bother?  He thought to himself.  He rounded the corner and walked into the band room and looked around at the people finishing their final packing and inventory-taking.

Then he saw her, Mayzie T.

"Oh yeah, that's why." He said aloud absent mindedly.

What wasn't to like?  She was smart, pretty, talented... Sure, she was a little bit crazy sometimes, but it was kind of cute.  Mayzie was only 2 months older than him, but was a grade ahead in grade 12.  She was the leader of Nick's band from school, as well as a part of the concert and jazz band programs.  Member of all three music programs, something else they had in common.  Their little band was made up of kind of a misfit crew, but they were close.  Originally it was just Mayzie and a bunch of boys, that was kind of a hoot, they drove her pretty crazy sometimes, not exactly living up to their nickname of "the sunshine boys".

"That's why what?"

Nick turned to find the source of the voice.  It belonged to his buddy, Esposito.  That was really his last name.  His first name was Xavier, but everyone just called him Esposito.

"Oh, nothing, don't worry about it," Nick replied.  He gave Esposito a curt nod and then started to slowly make his way over to where Mayzie was reading off a list and piling folders into a bin.  He tried to make himself look busy and talked to a few people in the long trek across the whole seven feet spanning the distance between them.

"Hey Nick!" She said as he approached.  She always said his name so that it came out more like 'Niek', but that was fine, he liked it.  It was kind of their thing he supposed.

"Hey Mayzie!" He chimed back, drawing out the 'ay' sound, trying to match her sing-song tone.  "What's going on over here?"

"Just making sure everyone get's their music in the box here," she said, smiling as she tucked a rogue lock of hair behind her ear.  "Which reminds me, I still need yours."

"Oh right, yeah sure," Nick said, breaking eye contact to slip his backpack off and retrieve his music folder, "Here you go." He said, handing her the black leather folder.

She smiled and put the folder in the tub with the rest before turning back to Nick and giving him a quick smile, then glancing back down to her clipboard.  Time to make an exit for now.  Nick started to shuffle towards the back of the room to 'check on some things'.  "Well I uh, I've just got to go... Make sure all of the percussion stuff is getting packed properly."

Mayzie looked up briefly, giving him another quick smile as he turned and left.

Stay tuned for the next part in the next little bit.

So anyways the point of that was... I'm not exactly sure, it's really late and I might be a little tired, so it may or may not just be an excuse to write something.  There's nothing wrong with that of course, but I'll try to pull some meaning out of this at some point.  Don't forget to check back for the next bit.


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