Thursday 4 January 2018

Team Song

Team Song (2007) Post 369

Team Song is one of the Spacesports series set on Space Station Nova. Unlike most of the others, this is a normal narrative novel rather than a graphic novel and thus was much easier to write. Having read the ms again (can't locate a copy of the book), I noticed some interesting things. Back in the day, there was a rather notorious poetry contest scam going around. It might still be about, but I haven't heard of it in a while. There was free entry, and in due course, writers would get notification that they'd reached the semi-finals. They'd then be offered a range of opportunities, all of which cost them rather than paying them. It wasn't illegal, because the contest DID exist, but because everyone "won" it was clearly a way of scamming. At about the time I wrote this story, I'd noticed a local writer had "won" something and had a picture in the paper, and a write-up. Clearly, this writer had no idea of the notoriety of this contest. Because this group targets young people, I decided to do something about it indirectly. Thus TEAM SONG was born. 

In the story, shipborn twins Janna and Jaff have been living on the station for two years, ever since their father married a stationer. On their ship, they'd been quite high-profile in music. Janna is a singer and Jaff a flautist, and they perform as a duo. On Nova, music is much less important, because everyone is mad about the sport 3D. Urged by their stepmother, Janna and Jaff tried out for the team. Janna was chosen but Jaff washed out in the early stages. Janna still loves music, but has much less time to practise. When Jaff hears of a music competition run by a star gypsy agency, he sends in a tape of himself and Janna, and is informed they're through to the semi-final. Their prize is an audition and a chance at the grand prize of a tour. Unfortunately for Jaff, the audition conflicts with Janna's practice for a high-profile match. 
Pav, the team captain, suggests the best way for the twins to attend is for the whole team to go AWOL. This they do, but to Jaff's dismay Tarza Rhyma, the woman who auditions them, is clearly telling lies. She gushes over the tape he sent, but doesn't even realise they're a duo. She asks them to perform the same song as on the tape. When the suspicious Janna starts singing a totally different song, and Rhyma doesn't comment, it is clear to even Jaff that there's something very wrong. When the twins decline her suggestion they should pay for publicity and costumes, she says Jaff is under contract because he accepted the audition.

At this point, Brig Meriweather, the Gold Team coach, emerges from hiding with the rest of the team. He is shipborn too, and he recognises Rhyma and sends her off with a flea in her ear, exposing her lies; mostly that the twins couldn't tour because they're nowhere near sixteen, and that nothing minors sign is binding. He even finds a way for Jaff's and Janna's musical talent to get some legitimate exposure.

I have no idea if this story has ever made a reader think twice about a scam competition but hey- I tried. As for the name Tarza Rhyma, you can blame the (legitimate) site for that. That's a writing site where I learned about some interesting poetry forms... including the Terza Rhymer!


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 2017 is now behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books, so the blog will continue for at least the next month or so. 

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