30 March 2015

Writing About Music

I can't believe this is my last blog post before the A to Z Challenge! Still haven't decided if I'm also doing IWSG on Wednesday. It will probably depend on how much I get done for the challenge. Although not getting enough done is certainly something to be insecure about! Now I'm thinking I could totally turn my first post, basically an intro on naming characters, into an IWSG post as well. Because if you can't figure out your character's name, you'd be insecure, right?

Anyway, before I keep rambling for this entire post, I wanted to talk about something that's a part of my writing but I have the hardest time figuring out. And that thing is music. A lot of my characters are musicians, but I find it's a hard thing to pull off when all you're only working with words.

At this point I don't even remember when I decided that Jordan would be a singer, but now it's such an important part of how I see him as a character, I don't think I could take it out. And if I do end up writing (ok, publishing. I'm definitely going to write them) these two sequels, it becomes even more important. So I do kind of need to plant those first seeds in the first book, even though it obviously isn't the most important thing that happens.

I've really overanalyzed it and figured it out from a symbolic standpoint, and I think it does work. My problem is that I don't think I executed it properly. I can't exactly go to every reader and explain why it's symbolic. If they don't get it, then it at least needs to work enough within the story so that it doesn't throw them off. I don't want them to be asking, "why is this even here?"

It's a difficult thing to do. How do you even describe a singing voice? If my characters write a song, should I actually put the lyrics in the book? Not to mention the fact that I have pretty much zero musical talent. I could probably write a poem and try to make it sound more like a song, but that would take quite some time. But if the reader can't actually hear the song, is there a point to reading the lyrics? What is actually important to include?

I'm still trying to figure it out. I want it to make sense to the reader but not seem pointless and stupid. And I still need to come up with a name for Jordan's band, which is so hard to do! Luckily I don't need it for the first book, so I don't have to figure it out anytime soon. But it's just another thing to add to the list!

Have you ever written about music in one of your stories? How would you decide on a band name?


  1. I love music and write to it all the time, but I've never written about music. None of my characters are musicians. Then again, I don't think I'd be much good as it since I never played an instrument and can't read music, so I'd probably have a hard time writing musical characters convincingly.

    I'd Google band names to get some ideas. They can be so weird, so you really can't go wrong. :)

  2. I don't think I could pull off the symbolism part.
    There has been brief dancing scenes in two of my books, but never really focused on music. (Despite the fact it's my number one passion.)
    Picking a name would be fun. Just brainstorm everything possible, no matter how out there. (Like Death Newt.)
    And sorry, you are in my sidebar now! So far I've only missed three people, so that's not bad...

  3. The name of the band could be the name of one of their favorite places; I know that several bands have chosen their names that way. As far as describing the singing voice, you could describe the audience's reactions to it. For example, consider describing people cringing at the sound of the singer's voice as opposed to describing people dancing to it; the way that people respond to the voice can help your reader figure out what kind of singer that person is.

  4. I've only had a brief scene with music in it for one of my stories. I came up with a few lyrics because I wanted to song to to kind of mirror the MC's plight. Never had to come up with a band name though. I'd say, look at the genres of the type of music they preform and see what names there are and if any inspire you.

  5. Ask around for book recommendations where the protagonist is a singer. That way, you can see how other people write it.

    As for writing the song lyrics, to what end? Does he speak his feelings for a love interest via song? If enough of the focus is off the music and on something else, you may not have to write them.

    I'm glad you decided on the sequels.

  6. I don't envy you trying to find a band name. When I hear stuff in real life, I'm like, oh, that's cool. But when I read band names in literature, I'm always super critical. I don't know why! So, yanno, no more pressure there or anything. =) As for me, I don't have to have song lyrics in the story. Maybe a mention of a line or two- if it feels relevant to the story- but I don't mind not seeing them. Adds to the mystery!

  7. Band name... per your Tweet wanting advice: 1--make a list of all those "security verify passwords" (I do) because there's a wealth of bizarrity in them. 2--there's a site...I don't recall the exact address... but its a random name generator. Its one of the coolest things to develop... well, names and stuff. --D.W. Hirsch

  8. I did in a couple of stories. In one that I had gotten published, I thought it would be neat to make my MC a punk rocker, then for an added twist, make her a classical guitarist as well. As for a band name, I started doing word/phrase association with the music theme and came up with the name of Krystal & The Methadones (it's a serious word play on illegal drugs).

    Father Nature's Corner

  9. Stopping by on my way down the A to Z Challenge list. :-)

    I've seen it done in stories where they don't copy out the full song, rather just snippets of it like odd lines or verses, in which case you could get away with using a poem.

    One book which springs to mind that does it quite well is Will Grayson, Will Grayson. One of the main characters writes and produces a musical and there are snippets of the songs through it. You should check that out. :-)

    Cait@ Click's Clan.