1. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    Quitting Piano

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Katria, Jul 5, 2012.

    Hey there, I'm struggling on here with the male lead of my novel. He's a young teacher at a school who once wanted to be a pianist, but I can't find a reason why he would actually stop playing the piano. I wanted a serious reason, like maybe he blaming himself for something, or something to do with his parents. Along the series I'm planning for him to take over his piano hobby again, but I'm struggling to find a reason why he would actually quit. Any ideas?
     
  2. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    I don't know the situation of your character and what led him to this situation, but a common reason people stop doing something they enjoy is due to depression.

    Note that I'm not talking about the "I feel sad" depression, I'm talking about clinical depression. But that would still leave the question as to what led him to depression.
     
  3. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    An injury, resulting in enough damage that he cannot play for an extended period, and if and when he does take it up again, it takes a lot of work to regain a semblance of his former talent. Just a thought.

    - Darkkin
     
  4. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Frustration and the feeling of having hit a wall.
     
  5. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    He could've gotten distracted by a different hobby or life in general got in the way of his dream. Depending on your character's personality maybe he gave it up to fit into the crowd or because a certain person told him straight out that what he wanted to achieve was impossible. Or maybe he just got tired of the amount effort with no end result.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could he have had a love interest who was also very into the piano, and they worked on creating music together and it became a big, shared goal? Then something happens to the love interest -- he/she leaves or dies and the MC is so upset over this because the relationship became intertwined with the piano playing and it was too painful for him to play for a while without thinking of the other person.

    Just a thought.
     
  7. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    Thank you for your answers! Though I'm still in doubt XD

    @Reptile Hazard: Indeed, he quits due to a deppressing event. The thing is, what EXACTLY that deppressing event is xD; I thought about someone's death, like his dad, mom, or a love interest, but I can't really figure out how would piano be involved in it.

    @Darkkin: I thought about him being injured, but I figured than portraying his recovery throughout the series would be something quite difficult for me...Specially if it involves something clinical, and it requires lot of investigation.

    @JessWrite: I thought of his piano quitting as a decision he made due to a emotionally strong reason, meaning that playing piano is something he loves and WANTS to do, but there's something, like an event in the past or whatever, that makes him not allowing himself to do what he loves the most. The idea is that the heroine in the series makes him realize he's wrong, and makes him take up into piano playing all over again.

    @Chicagoliz: Actually that was the main reason I thought of, but I kinda discarded it. Like I just told Jess, the idea of this whole piano quitting thingy is that the heroine in the series makes him realize he's wrong, and makes him take up into piano playing all over again. I thought of him having a past love, who actually cheated on him leaving him with a serious trust trauma, but I figured that if the heroine was going to make him play the piano all over again, regardless of the fact of how painful it is for him to do it, I thought of it as something...I don't know. Insensitive? I mean, making him forget about that woman and what she did to him would be quite a hard thing to do...Although, thinking better, I think I could avoid all that if his girlfriend just died instead of cheated. What do you think?
     
  8. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    @Katria Ah okay, I didn't know how much of piano player your character was before he decided to quit. If it was just a hobby or not. ;)

    I think the death of his girlfriend or someone close to him, maybe even his piano teacher/mentor would be a good cause of having to quit. Either way all of these ideas sound intriguing, whatever you choose it sounds like something I would read.
     
  9. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    Really?? XD Thanks, Jess!

    I might go for the idea of someone close to him dying, seems the most logical, maybe, and a friend just told me that her cousin also played the piano and actually quit after her mother died, so it seems pretty realistic.
     
  10. A. Nelix
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    A. Nelix New Member

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    I am writing kind of the same thing about mu character except she quit drawing and the hero helps her overcome it and she is also clinically depressed. My reason was that she has always been clinically depressed (some people just get depressed), but she kept drawing then one day her sister died and they were really close. This was the snapping point for her and she just stopped drawing.

    Perharps you should have him clinically depressed already, then maybe the pressures of playing the piano for an audience just got to him and he just quit and abandoned the whole thing.
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    You could make someone die that was connected to the piano music somehow, and he can't disassociate the music from the event. Every time he touches the piano keys or even hears piano music it brings him back to the death, and once he lets that go , he can return to it.
     
  12. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I draw closer to my instrument when I suffer personal loss. What's really alienating is mundane stuff like overwork, or apathy, or substance abuse.

    I understand that those might not allow for the sort of storyline you're aiming at, though.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're leaning more toward death, which I think is very valid. But IF you wanted to go the route of cheating girlfriend, I don't think that necessarily makes someone wanting him to play the piano insensitive. It would be more about his previous devotion to the piano, which he had before gf, the fact that it brought him happiness and fulfillment before her, and that he shouldn't let her leaving him ruin his life or take away something that was a part of him. It would be about separating the piano from the relationship -- about reclaiming the piano as his, not giving gf the power of taking it from him. I think it could be written as empowering, not as insensitive.

    I actually think the charge of insensitivity could be equally applied to the situation where the gf dies. Either way, though, it's about moving on, reclaiming the music as something that is his, not the gf's. About making more music that's meaningful, maybe even happy.
     
  14. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    What about money? I can imagine a young, broke musician deciding his dreams of being a professional are just fantasies that he needs to outgrow. Maybe he's just been fired from a lame job playing at a department store or something, he's frustrated and gives up, sells the piano to pay rent, goes back to school.

    Not as dramatic as a death, but maybe more realistic and relatable for the average reader.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Had to move to an apartment and couldn't put a piano in there (noise restrictions, or floor loading limits, etc)
     
  16. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    He broke up with his girlfriend who loved his piano play.... every time he plays brings back painful memories....
     
  17. Samo
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    Samo Member

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    What you are asking for is the inciting incident.

    Previous to this incident, your character's life was in balance. You are asking us what event could have tipped your character's life into the negative. Only you know your character as the character is your take on humanity, your character's choices are the story and the story is your metaphor for life.

    I can't give you a concrete answer because I only know my own take on life and humanity.

    Consider:

    What event could cause you to stop writing? What event would cause the best part of you to stop writing? What event would cause the worst part of you to stop writing? What would you choose? What is the opposite choice?
     
  18. nomadpenguin
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    nomadpenguin Member

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    He became a successful pianist and taught at a prestigious conservatory, but due to politics and/or a scandal, he was forced to resign, and he decides to give up the piano in despair.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My thought was that the piano takes a lot of time, and he's resolved to spend his time more efficiently for some reason. Maybe he's working toward a degree, or trying to earn overtime for some important purpose. He could just play the piano a few minutes a week, but he's learned that if he sits down to it at all, hours will be lost, so he gives it up altogether.
     
  20. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    HOw about: he's playing (maybe at a venue, maybe just practising at home), his phone rings, he checks who it is and ignores it, the person who called subsequently dies (could be suicide or accident) and he's convinced that he could have saved them if he'd put them before his piano. So he swears never to play another note. New love needs to convince him that he's wrong on two counts: one, that he could have saved the person and two, that he should give up playing because of the incident.
     
  21. Seej
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    Seej New Member

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    Maybe he has an icon that he always strove to emulate. A famous pianist perhaps. Then one day he had a performance and this famous pianist happened to be in the audience. The MC was so excited to play for him/her and he gave what he thought was the performance of his life. However, the famous pianist was not impressed and after the performance told his/her friends how awful he/she thought the playing to have been under no uncertain terms. The MC was about to introduce himself to the famous pianist but overheard the insults and this threw him into a spiral of depression and he couldn't play the piano again without hearing the cutting remarks from his former hero.
     
  22. Public
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    Well depending on the type of novel, it could be due to a sad memory? Possibly a loved one dying at one of his piano recitals?
     
  23. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    I stopped doing piano for two reasons. A) My teacher retired. B) I wasn't progressing at all.
    I started again a year later because I had a craving for music.
     
  24. Katria
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    Katria Member

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    Hey there! Thank you all for your answers and taking your time to think about ideas about this situation. I'm finally going for the idea of the past girlfriend, because it's the one that suits the most with the kind of novel I'm trying to write. But still, thank you all so much!
     
  25. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I have a music degree and did quit piano (and vocal) for years due to an emotionally distressing situation. It's very personal and many people don't understand it, so I don't feel comfortable posting on a public forum for it to be nit picked. However, if you would like my experience you may PM me. You may not use my reasons, but it may spark something else for you.

    (I have since returned to music and it is not like riding a bike. I struggled to get back to the place I was when I stopped and still have some issues. Other issues that I never seemed able to overcome, musically, seem to have self resolved with the break)
     

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