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Stephen



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PostSubject: My Story   Tue May 27, 2008 11:34 pm

Well, I've been thinking about some ideas for a story, so here goes:

Set in the future where... All music is now created by computers. The government has become hyper-regulatory, as well as somewhat corrupt. The record industry has all the programs to create music and has "lobbied" the government to make creatively human produced music illegal. This has created an underground community of hold-out musicians who stay true to their creative roots, regardless of the corrupt law.

My story (at least what I'm planning) is going to be about one underground musician and his struggles to create music and avoid being arrested.

What do you think?
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aitokunaga



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Wed May 28, 2008 1:56 am

Just music or all arts? Like literature--are books written by computers as well? Is art painted/sculpted/etc by machines? So the human part of the artistic process is art appreciation?
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spleahy



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Wed May 28, 2008 8:43 am

Hey I wouldn't give the record companies any ideas! They're pretty desperate right now lol. Good short story idea btw. So what type of music does this guy play?
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Multi

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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Wed May 28, 2008 10:58 am

So I'm guessing this is an event or idea based story, and not character based? Where does your story take place? Street musicians battling corporate entities... internet, court, street/city, or other setting?
I don't know. When you write your story, consider what in it would be of interest to the common reader. Why should they read your story, what would they learn from it? Is this single idea enough to write your short story?

Hopefully my questions can help you. Good luck!

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amandaheise



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Sat May 31, 2008 2:22 pm

You have a really cool idea going! so since all the music is prodiced by computers, does it all generally sound the same?
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Multi

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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:07 pm

absolutely not... hehe

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Stephen



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:10 pm

aitokunaga wrote:
Just music or all arts? Like literature--are books written by computers as well? Is art painted/sculpted/etc by machines? So the human part of the artistic process is art appreciation?

Well, I hadn't thought about this, but now that you bring it up, probably just music. This is set fairly soon after the transition to all-computer music, so I'm going to assume the technology isn't available for literature, for example. We already have some computer-generated music, so this isn't all that far out there.

spleahy wrote:
Hey I wouldn't give the record companies any ideas! They're pretty desperate right now lol. Good short story idea btw. So what type of music does this guy play?

lol Yeah, they are... Well, I'm thinking along the lines of a futuristic rock/metal/technoish combination, but that's only because I like that sort of music and could conceive of it existing in the future in some form.

Multi wrote:
So I'm guessing this is an event or idea based story, and not character based? Where does your story take place? Street musicians battling corporate entities... internet, court, street/city, or other setting?
I don't know. When you write your story, consider what in it would be of interest to the common reader. Why should they read your story, what would they learn from it? Is this single idea enough to write your short story?

Hopefully my questions can help you. Good luck!

Well, I'm thinking both idea and character driven, with lots of action. I like action! Smile Something of a mix though, I get bored with just one thing. I'm planning this to be set mostly in the streets and some online. Basically these musicians have to be on the run from the record industry para-cops.

The whole idea behind this story, the real message, is going to be a hyperbole on over-regulation and big industry control of important issues. Basically taking the current situation today and exaggerating it entirely to make a point.
Thanks for the ideas!

amandaheise wrote:
You have a really cool idea going! so since all the music is prodiced by computers, does it all generally sound the same?

Hm, well to some extent, yeah. But then again, if you ask me, almost all pop music today sounds the same. So this wouldn't really be any more "same-sounding" than most of today's music.
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jmbuehler



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:44 pm

I really like this idea. I'm definitely curious about the kind of world that you're creating in this story. How are these computer-generated songs marketed? Does the radio still exist? I-pods? Or is this a completely different world altogether?
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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:20 am

Would it be illegal to possess a guitar?

John Edlund
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Stephen



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:37 am

I'm still trying to figure out whether playing music for your own enjoyment is allowed or not. I'm thinking it wouldn't be, so then guitars and such would be illegal without a "museum license" or something of the sort.
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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:46 pm

So you can look, but you cannot touch?

John Edlund
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Multi

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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:30 pm

hehe, my dad is quite the musician. I'm interested to see the attitude of your story.

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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:32 pm

Up against the wall musician trash! The charge is possession of a Telecaster with intent to perform. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you play will be used against you. You have the right to remain silent. Unauthorized music production will be prosecuted to the full extent. You have the right to remain silent.

This sounds like an interesting world to explore.

John Edlund
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Stephen



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:43 pm

lol I love that. Yeah, exactly. Except the cops are private. The Private Security & Arrest company.
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aitokunaga



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:56 am

Maybe instead of "you have the right to be silent" you could have "you have the requirement to remain silent" silent
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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:08 am

Perhaps some human music is allowed, but only Beatles cover bands who play every song note for note like the record. There is legislation pending that would allow Led Zeppelin covers too, but they are still studying the psychoacoustic effects of Page's (Lord have mercy) solo in "Stairway to Heaven." However, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Helter Skelter," and "Piggies" are banned. After a performance, the Music Cops have apprehended the lead guitarist of "Beatlefoggia," a popular cover band.

Son, you played some extra notes in the intro to "Words of Love."

But officer, there is an outtake where George, Lord have mercy, plays it that way.

There are reasons why that's an outtake, young man. The psychoacoustic effects of unauthorized notes are unstudied and unpredictable. You also played what sounded like a forbidden riff in between "Help!" and "You're Gonna Lose that Girl."

I was just tuning.

You must tune silently by a meter according to established procedures. The effects of dissonant random notes can be devastating to the human psyche. This is all documented. You'd better get your act together or you're gonna lose this gig.


Sorry to keep fooling around with your story idea, but this just seems like an interesting, funny world.

John Edlund
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aitokunaga



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:39 pm

Music may be damaging to the human psyche...neat idea.
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Theophania

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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:43 pm

This is an interesting idea, and seems like it could be a fun read. What would be the main problem in the short story? It's quite broad of a world you've created.
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Stephen



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:45 pm

Lol I like that idea about the damaging to the psyche, but I've gone an entirely different direction with it. My basic problem is that playing and creating music has been made illegal, and the die-hard musicians are forced underground. They then strike out against the music company and try to break their monopoly.
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aitokunaga



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:52 am

How do they "strike out"? And don't say "you have to read the story to find out"! I wanna know!
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Derek



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:44 pm

nice idea.
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Stephen



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:23 pm

Here's my story finally, enjoy!

Pathétique



Music resounded through the room, but only one privileged enough to be plugged into the musician's little world could hear it. The apartment looked like a tornado had blown over a pile of cables and equipment. But the musicians playing the music didn't care. In fact, they thrived in this chaos. They seemed to pay no heed to the outside world, enraptured as they were with their own. In actuality, every one of the five band members were concentrating on both worlds at the same time. They had to in order to survive. Thanks to the new security system Rich had installed, they were warned while the cops were still a block away. By the time the Private Security and Arrest cops were pulling up, they were already franticly trying to grab what equipment they could carry and get away. Even with the warning, they still didn't have enough time to grab much, and the cops were hot on their trail as they tried to get away. Splitting away from the rest, Beethoven, the unofficial leader of these renegades, took off towards a shady part of the city.

The pounding footsteps grew louder as Beethoven ran. The mixer and guitar that he was carrying slowed him down too much, so with a regretful look he threw them aside. He wondered if he would be able to lose them this time. All this running and hiding was getting under his skin. If only they would just give up their stupid vendetta. Another electrified chain link fence confronted him, but he vaulted it like it was the railing of his grandma's front porch. The running and hiding had taught him street smarts, if nothing else. He dashed into an old apartment building and out a somewhat hidden back exit, a route from his list of useful trails through this urban wilderness they call Los Angeles.

Los Angeles. The entertainment capitol of the world. It had been called that as long as he could recall, but now the old cliché rang a little less true. The ban had only been in place 3 and a half years now, but the world of music seemed a lifetime ago. Beh, which is what his friends usually called him, could remember when he would just get some friends together and jam a new song, but those days seemed so distant now.

“I think I've finally lost them,” Beh thought out loud as he stood in an alley, doubled over from pure exhaustion. Comfort, safety. That's all Beh could think about in his half delirious exhaustion. He pulled out his phone and sent an encrypted message to his old friend, Richard, asking for help. Needless to say, Beh hated to ask anyone for help, but this was different. Rich, unlike most, would understand.

It was about four in the morning when Beh finally got to Rich's place. He had to be careful, because if any of PS&A's 160,000 cameras in the city got a good look at him, they'd be on his trail within a minute. He made a mental note to change his face as soon as he possibly could so their facial recognition couldn't find him.

Rich was sitting in front of the soft glow of his computer screens, as he could almost always be found. As Beh flopped down onto the only unoccupied piece of furniture in the tiny room, a bed, he started into a tirade. “What are we supposed to do? I can't keep this up much longer; it's getting to me. All this running and hiding, I'm not a criminal, but I'm forced to act like one. Why can't they leave us in peace and let the music alone? Why can't they just....” his voice trailing off into silence.

Turning around to stare his friend in the eye, Rich paused, then asked, “You done? We don't have time for self-pity and you know it. You chose this life. You chose to be a criminal.”
“Yeah, whatever. I just wish we could end this madness. Music doesn't belong to any big company, it should be free!”
“Well life isn't perfect, and I guess this is just the way it goes. By the way, how'd that new automated security system work for you? I hadn't quite finished the controller server.”
“It worked I guess. But it's still not enough. We've got to put an end to this so we don't have to hide anymore.”
“Come on, you're talking nonsense now. We can't do anything and you know it. Get some sleep. Maybe you'll be able to think straight in the morning.”
Beh just rolled over onto the floor and grunted something that sounded like “whatever” before falling asleep.

Beh awoke feeling much better, but his crazy idea was still bouncing around inside his head. Could they possibly take on the entire Music, Media and Entertainment Group? If there was any hope of saving music, the program had to be destroyed.
"Do you think we can do it,” Beh asked.
Having just woke up, Rich was entirely confused and mumbled, “Do what?”
“Destroy the program!”
“What program?” By now Rich was even more confused.
“I don't know what it's called. No one knows what it's called. It's the program that MME uses to create all their music. If that didn't exist, then there would be no reason for creating music to be illegal. It would break their whole monopoly!”
Rich just stared at his friend. Getting access to that program would be impossible. All that he could manage to squeak out was, “You are insane.”
“Well, insane or not, that's the only way that music will survive, and I can't survive without music. It's not like there's really a choice here.”
Rich had to concede that Beh had a point. They needed to play music. That was the whole reason they had basically become outlaws. “Alright, well, I still think you're crazy, but hypothetically speaking, how would you do it? The music software is their most guarded secret.”
Sighing, Beh thought for a moment and replied, “I honestly don't know. You're the computer expert. Can't you hack in to their system somehow?”
Rich started to laugh, a small chuckle at first, but growing to the point where he was almost rolling off his bed. “How long have you known me? And how much computer geekyness have you absorbed in that time? You still haven't gotten it that hacking isn't that easy. There's no possible way I could sit here, hack around, and somehow destroy their uber-protected software. It just doesn't work that way.” After some thought, he added, “Hm... but if I had physical access to some of their machines... naw, it would never work.”
“What? What would never work? Just tell me what you need.”
“A few trillion dollars, ten years, and a better crew of secret agents than any of the special forces in the world could field. But if you can't give me all of that, I might be able to try it with just the crew,” Rich said with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.
Beh had only seen that look a few times before. The first time was all the way back in high school, when Rich altered the student records right before graduation, flunking out some of his enemies. Beh knew exactly what this meant right now. They were going to do it! He didn't have the faintest idea how, but when Rich got like this, there was no stopping him.

Beh and Rich spent the next six months recruiting other musicians for their nearly impossible plan. On a Sunday afternoon, the most motley and varied group of people imaginable met in a room that was a little bit too small to fit all of them comfortably. Everyone in the group was a musician to some extent, with various other expertises, mainly technical and computer related fields. A few were engineers and architects. In one corner was a group of athletes, rock climbers, and gymnasts. Beh's contacts in the underground music community were numerous, and almost everyone he contacted was willing to help him out in whatever way they could.

When everyone arrived, Beh started the meeting. “I'm sure you are all wondering what is going on. Well, to put things simply, I want to destroy the program that MME uses to create all their music.” In an attempt to lighten this situation a bit, he continued, “It should be easy enough. Any questions?” Even with the attempt to throw a little humor at the situation, a dead silence fell on the room. They had all been passively fighting MME, but this was ridiculous, unimaginable, suicidal. After the initial shock had worn off, Beh heard grumblings to this effect. He then attempted to explain why he wasn't insane. “I've got a plan. If we can get access to one of MME's central computer systems, Rich thinks he can get complete access to their security system. We can then become only slightly more detectable than ghosts, and get access to whatever computers we need to be able to destroy the program. That's why I need all of you. We'll need a team to infiltrate MME's headquarters as well as a team of hackers to break into the computer systems. Who's in?”

Not everyone in the group agreed with Beh, but most thought it was at least worth a try. Beh announced that he would be leading the team to infiltrate the headquarters and Rich would be heading up the computer operations. After explaining some more of the general plans, they dispersed, and each team discussed how to best achieve their goals.


On a moonless night they commenced their assault. After studying the blueprints for the building, they decided on trying to break into a second floor conference room. Beh's group scaled the wall and cut out the window. Normally this would set off the alarm, but Rich and a couple other hackers had managed to tap into the security system on the property's perimeter. After gaining access to the building they proceeded to one of the smaller server rooms. Rich and his team needed a connection into the internal computer system in order to gain access to the systems where the program is stored.

Somehow, in the month of preparation, Beh had managed to transform his diverse group into a force to be reckoned with. They quickly and carefully executed the plan, without unnecessary words or action. Beh was not an average leader, and certainly not a typical musician. Finally some of his training was paying off.


Once they had hooked in the equipment that Rich needed, the team was out as silently as they had broken in. Back at the makeshift command post in the basement of a computer store, congratulations were all around. Everyone was excited about how well phase one had worked out. Beh sat in the corner with Rich and a few of the other leaders. He looked elated, but when he spoke it was easy to tell that he was exhausted. “That was almost too easy. Everything went just like we planned. How's the data coming back, Rich?”
“Looks good to me. I haven't tried logging into any of the master machines yet, but I'm running a brute force attack on the fail-over server right now.”
Beh laughed at his geeky friend. “Do you actually expect me to understand a word you're saying?”
Rich just smiled. “Not really, I guess. You never do.”
One of the other geeky types piped up, “Translation, everything is going according to plan on his end too.”
“Thanks, but I've been around this guy long enough to figure that much out.”
“Hey Rich, we've got in,” came a voice from behind half a dozen holo monitors. “Here's the password.”
“Thanks, I'll be right there,” came Rich's instant reply.
Beh was starting to get concerned. “Wait a sec. How long did you tell me that getting the system password would take?”
“Well, this is a lot faster than I expected, but what's wrong with that?”
“I just don't like it. Back when I was in the Corps we used to say that only a failed mission goes perfectly.”
“Oh come on, you're such a pessimist sometimes.” To the geek running the holos he said, “Let's get this show on the road. Run the scripts in the phase two directory.” As Rich rushed over to the mass of holos, Beh walked out the back entrance. His part was finished for now and he needed space to think. They were on the verge of pulling off one of the greatest acts of sabotage imaginable.

The sun had almost set over the LA skyline as Beh headed out for his walk. The neighborhood was rather peaceful and still, if you ignored the rocket-cruisers on the freeway a couple of blocks away. After a few blocks Beh rounded the corner and saw the usual assortments of pedestrians pushing shopping carts, riding bikes, and loitering around the MagBus Inc. station. But his keen mind saw something was amiss. He couldn't figure out what exactly it was. “Perhaps my mind is just tricking myself into thinking something is wrong,” he thought.

Finally when Beh saw a man who had just been waiting at the bus stop and then suddenly take off across the street, he snapped. He started sprinting evasively, barreling though a crowd waiting for the signal to turn. It was a good thing he did, because just at that moment two PS&A cruisers squealed around the corner.

“Shit,” he thought as he dashed across the street, ignoring the light. There was no point in hiding anymore. He pulled out the secure satellite radio that Rich had set up. “Code black! Code black! Clear out!” Beh never got into a situation without at least a couple different ways out. There was nothing he could do for the others now, so he made a bee-line for his second way out. He had parked his S-46 speed bike on a side street near the headquarters. Jumping on the bike, he sped off.

What happens next:

Beh and Rich escape along with most of the other musicians, but some did get caught. The hardware they installed in the MME headquarters wasn't discovered though, so Rich finishes off the job while Beh tries to figure out how the cops found them. Rich successfully destroys the program, although it is hinted that destroying it will not be enough, since the programmers working for MME can just rewrite the whole program. Beh figured out that one of their own musicians turned them in. Finally, the story ends with the government reconsidering the ban on music because this whole escapade has become public and reveals to the public that their music idols, whom they adore so much because they are allowed to create music, really aren't creating the music at all.
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TheDirector



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:49 am

Stephen,

You might want to read "Burning Chrome" by William Gibson, in Visions of Wonder. He uses flashbacks to handle some of the exposition. Right now your story is exposition heavy. Even when action is happening, you are still explaining a lot.

I think the reader needs to "hear" some of the computer-generated music and some of what the band members want to play.

It's a very interesting world you are creating here.

John Edlund
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djhull



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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:09 pm

Would the computers be advanced enough to be able to recreate emotion in the music?
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Wind

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PostSubject: Re: My Story   Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:37 pm

djhull wrote:
Would the computers be advanced enough to be able to recreate emotion in the music?

They're advanced enough to do this now.

I'll have links up later that show this.
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