Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Writing A Novel: College Band Memories

Before I started work at Soap Opera Digest I had dreams of becoming a music critic. I got my start writing for the Arts section of my college's newspaper.

Our paper's Editor-In-Chief had this idea that there could be no such thing as a completely positive review. His argument was that everything has flaws and that it was up to us as reporters to reveal those imperfections. He had a point, but I think he just enjoyed reading and writing negative reviews. The meaner a write-up was, the more he liked it.

In order to assure that I'd give him bad reviews, he'd have me cover uh, eccentric, events. There was the one-woman show about drowned prostitutes where the performer lifted up her skirt and shouted "Whore" at the audience. There was the art gallery exhibit where the painter specialized in creating portraits of smashed-up cars. And then there was the band, Superaction C--- Modified.

Yep, you read that correctly. That was their name, which I "bleeped" for the sake of this blog because I really don't want to say or write the whole word. They did not bleep it. In fact, they called themselves "The C---" in casual settings.

I didn't want to attend this concert alone so I brought my now sister-in-law, Debbie, with me as my plus-one. She and I are more into classical or jazz so we weren't sure what to expect from this alternative band. Still, we figured that it would be an interesting evening.

We were right. The C--- indeed gave a memorable performance, mainly because they were loud. Seriously, all these guys did was scream. I can appreciate good punk music like The Sex Pistols, but I don't think this band hit an actual note during the entire performance. They just screamed and shouted, "We're Superaction! Modified! We're Superaction! C--- Modified!" over and over again. At one point, two of the "singers" -- and I use that word reluctantly -- sang together, one in a low-pitched voice and the other in a high-pitched wail. "What on earth are they doing?" asked Debbie. "I think they're harmonizing," I told her.

By the end of the night, we'd moved to the second story of the student union so we could listen to them from a distance and not get headaches. Plus, we were laughing so hard that we were crying. No, we didn't like the music AT ALL, but we did have a good time. And though I didn't entirely agree with my editor's review policy, I did appreciate the fact that I was getting some new experiences on campus.

When I'm writing, I often borrow from my real-life experiences and create new ones for my characters. In the case of my latest book, though, I just pulled right from this memory when my main characters, Sadie and Griffin, attend a concert for a group named Superaction Dick Modified. I had a blast writing this chapter because it took me right back to that night with Debbie during our sophomore year.

I'll have to ask my SIL if she remembers seeing Superaction C--- Modified with me. If she doesn't, maybe this chapter will jog her memories of this fun time in our lives.

Please read and review my current book REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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