Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#1
Advanced Lesson

Personality traits are stable tendencies in a character, while moods are transient changes in emotion and behaviour. There is a complex interaction between mood and personality; for example, a "quiet" person's "happy" is not the same as a "boisterous" person's happy.

Vague prompt: In 500 words, write a scene that strongly depicts a character's personality as well as a specific mood.

Specific prompt: Ryan is a "private" person. He is currently in a "happy" mood because he just mastered a complex piece on the piano. In 500 words, depict him at school with some classmates.

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#2
I tried my hardest at this one, but I don't think I did a great job at it... Still, hope that it gets points in some other aspects

But hey, I think I made this exactly 500 words. 

Sorry about this low quality stuff though. o.O

                                                                                       *           *

Ryan retreats his hands back as cold sweat drips from his brow. His hands are numb from the excruciating ordeal he has put 
himself into. 
Rather than reveling in the pain, he is overcome by a strong feeling of accomplishment, putting his right hand on his chest, feeling the strong and paced beating of his heart, smiling gleefully as he reclines only slightly as to not fall on his back from the stool. 

His great feat is rewarded by a small applause from his close peers, or rather, 'best friends' as he would call them. 

"Simply amazing, Ryan. You never do cease to amaze me."

"The same goes for me. Man, you might be the only person in the world to make me feel something for classical music."

Ryan gives off an awkward smile, still struggling as to how to accept these kind of praises without feeling embarrassed. He would even turn dead silent at times, fainting because of the overwhelming number of people that surrounded him the last time he had done this.

He'd often be asked as to how he became this skilled in piano, but he would only reply with. 

"It's nothing great really, you just... Uhm, I ah--," 

Yes, it would end with that as he would always run away due to sheer timidity from people he does not familiarize with.

But after completing a magnificent and awe inspiring piece, he is in the presence of people he feels comfortable with. Those who are lucky enough to witness him truly extending his wings as a prodigy.

"You've must have practiced a lot haven't you?"

"I have. It was quite difficult to be honest, but I made it through with enough motivation."

Ryan smiles as he scratches the back of his head, laughing with a flustered face.

"... So, do you think you can participate in the competition yet?"

Ryan's eyes widen in surprise, the sudden change in his facial expression has improved yet again. At a loss for words, he does not respond.

"I know you can win it. With your capabilities, victory is assured!"

"... But, you know that I'm not good with crowds, right?"

"Well, don't worry about it. I just suggested it. you don't have to force yourself to go."

His friend smiles at him, putting a hand on his shoulders as he gives him a thumbs up.

"Why not just play for us one more time? I think it's much better than a competition. Plus, it's Ryan playing after all. What could be better than that?"

"I must agree with Alex. I would very much prefer your playing rather than any other's to be honest."

Ryan's smiles gently with his eyes closed, laughing internally. 

He replies, "Sure!" then turns to face the piano once more, to show his own face of happiness in which no words nor action can describe. The only way he can show the world he has created inside his own reality. His own world forged by music.

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#3
@Series of Rebirths
Erm yeah. I wouldn't say this was your best work. This was a hard lesson, though, so it's not unexpected.

You seem to have interpreted "private" as "having social/performance anxiety", which isn't what I intended, but I will analyze it from this perspective.

Writing a scene about someone who plays piano will obviously be difficult if you are not familiar with pianos. There are some technical inaccuracies about that aspect, but no big deal unless you plan to write about pianos in your real writing. No matter how difficult a piece is, it shouldn't cause "excruciating" pain to play. People generally sit on "benches" rather than "stools".

No idea why you put "best friends" in single quotation marks. That's generally reserved for empty titles, i.e. if Ryan called them his best friends but didn't actually feel that way about them.

You can't have a conversation with more than two people without dialogue tags. Especially in a short piece like this, when the characters don't have pre-established, distinctive personalities/speaking styles, there's no way to tell who's talking. You probably should have just named the two best friends at the beginning and made it clear which one was talking.

I'm not a big fan of when Ryan says "I have. It was quite difficult to be honest, but I made it through with enough motivation." For someone who really loves music, practicing may be challenging, but it never requires the mustering of willpower to keep going.

I liked the ending line, though. It nicely captures the power of artistic expression.

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#4
10/28/2016 05:00:19unice5656 Wrote: [ -> ]@Series of Rebirths
Erm yeah. I wouldn't say this was your best work. This was a hard lesson, though, so it's not unexpected.

You seem to have interpreted "private" as "having social/performance anxiety", which isn't what I intended, but I will analyze it from this perspective.

Writing a scene about someone who plays piano will obviously be difficult if you are not familiar with pianos. There are some technical inaccuracies about that aspect, but no big deal unless you plan to write about pianos in your real writing. No matter how difficult a piece is, it shouldn't cause "excruciating" pain to play. People generally sit on "benches" rather than "stools".

No idea why you put "best friends" in single quotation marks. That's generally reserved for empty titles, i.e. if Ryan called them his best friends but didn't actually feel that way about them.

You can't have a conversation with more than two people without dialogue tags. Especially in a short piece like this, when the characters don't have pre-established, distinctive personalities/speaking styles, there's no way to tell who's talking. You probably should have just named the two best friends at the beginning and made it clear which one was talking.

I'm not a big fan of when Ryan says "I have. It was quite difficult to be honest, but I made it through with enough motivation." For someone who really loves music, practicing may be challenging, but it never requires the mustering of willpower to keep going.

I liked the ending line, though. It nicely captures the power of artistic expression.


Thank you for the critique. Even I didn't know those mistakes myself. I'll do my best to improve for the next one (Hopefully)

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#5
A truly horrible piece:
Music floated through the air, bewitching and soft. Fingers danced across a piano keyboard with seamless grace. Ryan was happy today. He had finally mastered the song. As the last notes faded away, the two classmates standing by him in the middle of the page-splattered music room clapped.

"Nice dude! Bloody well done!" said the tallest classmate, Christian. A fair haired, blue-eyed wannabe-musician always dressed in a white shirt and black tie, Ryan's best/only friend.

"Guess so. Was fun," said Ryan. He smiled. “Was fun.” He stood up and, gathered his music, softly whispering the tune under his breath. Was fun.”
“Wasn’t a total fuckup. Kudos for that. ” said the other, Matt, crossing his arms.A black-haired person of French descent wearing grunge clothes, and self-declared utter cynic. ”Where’d you learn to play like that?”

“Somewhere. Somewhere awesome” said Ryan, bending down to grasp for a page that had floated below the large grand piano.

“Dude, missed one,” said Christian, pointing at a page lying a few feet away from the piano, lost in both shadow and similar pages in the dark cramped music room.

“Ah thanks.” Said Ryan. He reached for it and smiled. “Want to go eat something?”

“Yeah dude, let’s go!” said Christian, and turned to go, almost skipping in excitement.

“Somewhere? That’s not an damn answer. That’s what you type when some website asks for your address! Answer the freaking question!” said Matt, turning to block the door. “Where did you learn? Where’d you learn to play so... beautifully?”

“Beautiful…” Ryan said and smiled, picking up his heavy, blocky school bag, stuffed with duct-taped books.

”Yes! I’d hazard it’s enough to play in that second-rate performance we charitably call a concert. Oi Christian, when’s that?”

“No concert. I’m not... a performer. ” said Ryan, pulling his head in, and trying to push past Matt, a light smile on his face. Practice truly makes perfect.

“Two weeks, dude, and I’ve already got my piece fired up and ready to go!” said Christian, seemingly blind to the world. “Gonna ace it,dude, tell you. There’s gonna have to be a ambulance ready, for all the people fainting from the utter beauty!” he said, swinging his arms, and miming collapsing.
“But dude, regardless of how beautiful Ryan’s music is, and how it would actually be awesome at the concert, my stomach has called. It wants fooood,” he said, rubbing his stomach with a massive shit-eating grin on his face. ”Move over, dude, I can already hear the pasta calling!” he said, walking forward, bumping Matt to the side, and striding out into the dark locker-lined corridor, his foot falls echoing far down the dark, silent halls. Ryan followed, hands in his pocket, the epiphany of perfection after practice still l lingering, both garnering dark looks from Matt.

“Why’d you invite him dude?” whispered Christian to Ryan as they strode away. “Dunno. Was my friend. Wish he was still. So invited him.” Ryan whispered back. “Well whatever. Now for the true question pf life: What are we going to eat, dude!” Ryan smiled and said “Thought of a bunch of ideas. Like pasta. Bolognaise of course” “Nah dude, we need something special to celebrate!” “Yeah. Hey maybe cake rather or…” The two friends chattered on whilst they strode down the hall towards the great outdoors.

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#6
@GenRincewind:

You used "smile" way too many times in that piece. Always be aware of how often you're using a word, because it either gets boring or creepy if you use it too often. Find other ways to depict "happy".

I feel like I should point out that just because my prompt says that Ryan is at school with classmates doesn't mean he needs to be interacting with those classmate or performing for them. He is a "private" person. I think you attempted to portray this by having him speak in short, incomplete sentences, but it didn't really work in the context of two other distinctive and strong-minded characters. You also did a bit of description of Ryan lingering over that perfect musical moment, which was good, but interrupting it with dialogue broke the ambiance.

Just a technical thing: by the time someone masters a piece, they're usually long past needing to look at the sheet music, or even really needing their eyes open.

RE: Lesson 8: Mood [ADVANCED]

#9
I hope this was OK, It took me some time (not that much though) . Hope u like it!!!

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As the beautiful music fluttered in the air and danced, Ryan kept his determination and didn’t focus on anything else. After the last note had been played, Ryan let out a sigh of relief as his miniature audience (his two only friends) clapped.
“Wow Ryan! I don’t know how you do it!” exclaimed George
“Yeah! I would have you do music more than anyone!” Katherine applauded. A smile spread across his lips.
“Have you heard about the competition? Says you get to play onto the radio!”
“Yeah! That’s the first step to becomin’ famous!” Ryan thought about it. He did want to be a musician when he grew up – but he still had one concern on his mind.
“Do you have to play with audience?” if the way you spoke was readable almost anyone with half a mind could tell that he was worried – it was his only flaw in being a musician, playing for loads of people. The thought of failing and embarrassment would only bring fail and embarrassment. He could handle around five – ten was his maximum he’d ever done.
“Not really – unless you count the judges the audience; and that’s only eight,”
“Maybe,” he thought about it. He could probably take on eight. If he could practice on a few more pieces – he would probably win. But then again, could he handle everyone congratulating him? With the help of his friends he picked the benches in the hall and put them back. Until his fourteenth birthday he had to use the school’s piano instead. They silently put the piano back into the storage room. It was these sort of moments that he used to settle his thoughts. His friends wanted him to go into the competition, and they all knew each other well. Then again, he owed them a few so…
“I guess so, can’t be any harm, right?” almost instantly Katherine and George smiled. They hadn’t convinced Ryan to do something in a while.
“Well, be warned ‘cause we’re joining the competition too! And we’ve got our secret weapon!” They’re secret weapon wasn’t anything amazing like a giant hypnotizing machine (even if they always make it sound like it is). You can, if you’re willing to give up half the fame, team up with someone. The secret weapon part of it was that they made an ultimate duo and would prove to be a challenge, well, for anyone who was considered standard.
“Oh crap!”
We forget about the dust!” pointed out George. The school had a spot of dust constantly growing – and it was a pain the neck to get it cleaned up. Since the school was originally against them using the piano after school they came to the agreement that they must clean the dust every time they used the piano.
“I’ll get the brush!” Katherine announced as she dashed towards the cupboard.
“Are you learning any other songs?” George asked as he spotted the hiding spots of dirt.
“Yeah, we should probably get to work,” Ryan continued to work.