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Archive for April, 2013

Last month, I posted some rough lyrics to a song I’ve been working on. Now, I think I’ve settled on a new set of lyrics. The song’s story is roughly the same, the only changes in showing the lengths the protagonist goes through to cure his love and a smoothing out of the character’s toying with giving up. I’m also thinking of making a concept album centered around this song, in which case, I may change the lyrics again to fit the story better. My recent musical obsession is really influencing my songwriting process…

Here is a link to the original: https://blogofahrenscholtz.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/the-tinkerer-lyrics-rough-draft/

The Tinkerer (revised lyrics)

I found you, love, through divine inspiration

Now after years, your health has complications

And my faith has failed, so I turn to science

I’ll find a way. I can’t be alone, I can’t live without you

I’ll search both far and wide for anything to try

To keep you safe and right here by my side

I’ve tinkered on all my failed inventions

And crying out all of my frustrations

I’ve tried to invent cures on my own

I’ve tried both real and obscure things I know

I’m doing all I can for you

I’ve tried every cure from distant lands

The skills of every medicine man

And still I’m nowhere closer to saving you

And I’ve tried and tried to find the equation

Fingers ache and mind needs elation

From knowing there’s nothing more I can do for you

Now every time I see your face

More anemic everyday

It only gets harder and harder and harder and harder

So what now? It seems I wrongly figured

That the answer lies somewhere in science

The new lyrics also point to a more self centered mindset of the protagonist. I modified this from the doubt that was in the rough draft. I really wanted something that was a desperate love song but not entirely pure. As much as the Tinkerer wants to save his/her love, there is still an underlying feeling of selfishness to his/her actions. It makes the character a little more interesting for me, knowing there’s that tension behind his actions. This theme is fleshed out more in the short story form.

I’m working on a recorded version of this song that will be very basic in style but hopefully the meaning of the song will come through. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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I’ve been wondering about something for a while now, about how my main character will be received without having one very important characteristic: his name. I’ve liked the idea of having a nameless protagonist since the characters inception and have gone through several pages of dialog and description without giving one. It really isn’t that difficult to refer to him as ‘the Tinkerer’ for what I’ve written so far. Things do get a little tough once the more intimate or poignant scenes occur but I’ve managed to get around things. We really don’t use each other’s names that much in real life anyway so the transition to the novel seemed natural.

So, is a character’s name important? Of course he has a designation, ‘the Tinkerer’, but does this take away from his character? Would the story be more effective if we knew his name? Maybe his name is Bradley Farworth…would that mean more to the story and the reader’s perception of him and his actions? A character’s name would make him more believable, more relatable, more real…it would ground that character more, make him a part of the world in which he is inhabiting. Ultimately, we read stories and watch movies because we want to relate to these characters, either by putting ourselves into their position or empathizing with the trials other people go through even if they are fictionalized. A name would do that by making the character specific and (hopefully) unlike any person we’ve seen before.

So what would having no name accomplish, or a title the character goes by? The character ends up being like the many people we pass by on the street each day. We see their face, recognize their style of walk, which can dictate how they grew up, if they’ve been in an accident, if they’re composed, reserved, flamboyant, confident, etc. And even speaking to these ‘nameless’ people, we can know if they’re intelligent, foreign, shy, friendly, and the like. We don’t know their names but we can know a lot about them, so much so that their name is just another bit of information. In the novel, as well as the movie Drive, the main character is known simply as Driver. Having this title in leu of a name adds an extra dimension to his character that we might not get knowing his ‘real’ name. His character takes on a kind of mythical and mysterious property. We know so much about him yet a simple thing like his name eludes us.

That’s why I’ve been going with ‘the Tinkerer’ thus far in my story. It adds a layer of mystery to the character and still (if I’ve done a good job) the reader knows what he is about. He tinkers. Mostly small appliances but he could end up tinkering with anything, including time travel. Especially set in this fictional world where time travel might be possible, I wanted that extra bit of mystery because I feel like it adds to the fantastical elements of the story. I may change that at some point but I like that extra bit of mysteriousness.

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Teatro Zinzanni, a local spectacle in the Seattle area with shows all year, is a dinner theater worth checking out. Located near Seattle center, this dinner theater sets itself apart from its surroundings by being the only multi-colored tent that takes up half a city block in the area. I’ve walked or drove past it several times in my life and was always curious about it.

 

Inside, it was apparent that great effort was used in creating the carnival ambiance, from the old wooden bar to the hostesses, waiters, and players dressed in turn of the century costumes. It was like steampunk cosplay and it was fantastic if you’re into that kind of thing, which I am.

 

The show itself was fun with plenty of patron participation. The house band stayed in the back but minstrels and actors meandered between the tables, talking with people, doing comedic bits, or causing mischief. The actor playing Loki took my drink and acted like he would drink it. At certain times, one or two diners were brought to the center and forced to participate in the prepared shenanigans. I really enjoyed that part of it although my girlfriend would have been mortified had she been picked. There was also a wide variety of music – everything from opera to instrumental versions of Beatles songs to old school rap. I didn’t recognize everything but they were all good choices and many times were played when a circus act was being performed. The song playing was unfamiliar to me but when the Thor character did his tightrope act, the show turned up the epic factor exponentially. It was very inspiring, although not quite enough for me to begin my own balancing act.

 

For dinner, a five-course meal was served: pork belly, salad, soup, choice of entrée, and an apple tart for dessert. For the entrée, I opted for the filet mignon while my girlfriend had the salmon. Both were great but we agreed that the salmon was the better of the two.

 

Had the price been a little less then the $108 general admission price tag (the special inner circle is $143), I would go there every month. Not to say that the price isn’t worth it. You will be entertained. I’m just cheap.

The show runs through May 12.

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I just finished listening to the audiobook of Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I had read it once before for one of my english classes in college and like it enough, despite having to rush through the first third of it to catch up (I enrolled late). I had my professor to explain some of the symbols and metaphors contained within so I knew that going into my second round with the audiobook, but I was still surprised how blatantly obvious some of them were. Jude Fawley as the idealist youngster trying to achieve his dreams by working hard, Sue Brighthead as the chased vixen that bucks societal norms, Arabella Donn who represents the live-in-the-moment, practical sect of humanity, and the various places such as Christminster as the epicenter of intellectual thought.

The way the symbology is so directly placed seems frowned upon these days. I wrote a story in one of my fiction classes and one of the critiques from a lovely girl was that the character names were “too descriptive of their traits”. She was right, of course. They were, but for a reason and I feel they would have fit right in had I sent the story back in time to the nineteenth century.

Since I’ve concentrated on the classic novels of our culture, how do newer novels deal with this? Do they contain the same amount of symbolism and simply wrap it up in less obvious ways or is it gone entirely?

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Working through this story, I’ve noticed that making each of my characters a fully developed person is easy. Making them interesting and unique is tough. People in general are unique to some degree. There is rarely two people that are exactly alike, even twins will wear different clothes on occasion and their decision making process varies slightly with each choice of a shirt, coat or accessory. We know this on some level, even if we can predict a certain person’s life through their facebook profiles. There are infinite possibilities to tweak, from our personalities to our DNA to where no two of us will be alike. Similar, maybe, but unique.

Literary characters, on the other hand, can have such limited rounding that one character can seem no different from another in personality. Name, yes, but motivations and actions, no.

So, in my story, I’m trying to make them interesting through their dialogue, their actions, and their quirks. It’s difficult to decide on how much to spend on a character, especially the secondary characters but giving them a combination of two or three personality traits feels like it’s working. I guess I won’t know for sure until more people read it, but it’s working so far. Just have to keep it up.

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