Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Right Bad Guy

Living in My Head

     Over the past few days I have been attempting to develop a character who would provide me with the complication in another character’s life I was looking for. That probably makes little to no sense, so I’ll simplify it and say I’m trying to write a bad guy. Not a criminal type bad guy, or a sleazy type bad guy. A man who seems to be poised and charming, and musically talented. But there’s another side to this person who was eluding me; he’s narcissistic. That’s his badness.
     I’d been trying to envision a pianist or a conductor for my female character to become entangled with, but nothing I thought about really seemed to work for what I wanted to have happen to her. She’s a gifted violinist, a prodigy, actually. Her talent was recognized when she was four years old.
    Musical genius can be a two-edged sword. I’ve been re-reading a book about musical prodigies and revisiting some of the difficulties they can undergo as a result of their genius. The legendary cellist Pablo Casals, for example, suffered from severe nerves before every concert he ever played, right up until the last one, so he probably dealt with that for seventy years. He also suffered terrible emotional turmoil when he went through puberty and for some time afterwards, and often had thoughts of suicide during that period.
     Laura, my violinist, doesn’t endure anything that dramatic, but she has set herself apart from her peers and has few friends, and hasn’t had a romantic encounter. Okay, she hasn’t had sex yet, and she’s twenty-three. She picks the wrong man to have a romance with. But I couldn’t come up with the right guy. Well, the right wrong guy.
     This morning at 2 a.m. I awoke with the thought: why not make him a tenor? Her father is a famous tenor, so she has warm feelings about singers, and tenors in particular. And she’s still young enough, and inexperienced enough because of her isolation, to not be as discerning as she should be. My quest this morning – okay, in the middle of the night ─ was to find recordings of violinists and tenors performing together. Oh, I do so love YouTube. I was amazed at all the music I found! So poor Laura, she’s going to become enamored of a charmer with a glorious voice who is a real heel.
     The musical quest was a result of a thought as to how she meets this tenor who does her wrong. It would make sense that they perform together, and sparks fly, at least for her. Is there such music for them to perform? YouTube confirmed that there definitely is. Where does this happen?
     A great place might be the Aspen Music Festival, where they are both engaged for the entire eight week season to teach and perform. So thanks, Google Earth, for the tour of Aspen. I’ve been to Colorado but not specifically to Aspen. Well, now I’ve made a couple of virtual trips to Aspen and will undoubtedly make more over the next months. Modern technology, a great aide to the author.
     I’m sure sometimes my friends and family are concerned when I am sitting in a gathering with a blank look on my face, or if I walk right past someone I know on the street without even seeing them. Or call somebody by the wrong name. Yes, I’m getting up there in years. But at this point, what that indicates is that my head is in my next novel. I’m meeting my characters and learning who they are, and finding out what their journey is going to be, and marking time until I can get back to the computer and start writing all this stuff down.
     What a great way to spend my golden years.