A Song in my Head/Heart?

Taking a break from writing fiction next week for something . . . different. I’m attending a songwriters’ workshop.

Song writing and fiction writing have a number of similarities. For example, they both employ words. And, um, let’s see what else.

Well, if you’re writing a ballad, you have to create strong, memorable characters. You don’t have a lot of words to accomplish that. More like flash fiction in that regard. Quick sketch, salient points, use strong images, leave a lot to the imagination.

Little ditty about Jack and Diane
Two American kids growin’ up in the heartland
Jackie gonna be a football star
Diane debutante backseat of Jackie’s car
Suckin’ on chili dogs outside the tastee freeze
Diane’s sittin’ on Jackie’s lap
He’s got his hand between her knees
Jackie say, hey, Diane
Let’s run off behind a shady trees
Dribble off those Bobby Brooks
Let me do what I please.
– Jack and Diane, John Mellencamp

68 little words, and look how much you know about the 2 title characters. Would that I could do that quite so effectively in fiction (I totally suck at flash fiction).

Song lyrics normally rhyme. Contemporary poetry doesn’t even rhyme–that’s been abandoned long ago. But somehow it’s still the standard for most popular music. Confess that I don’t feel BOUND by that convention, but I follow it when possible. Unless I want to use worlds like silver or orange. Then I cheat. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of rhyming dictionary resources, printed and online. I have two here beside my PC in case the “other muse” strikes me.

But I’m not really doing this to improve my fiction. I’m doing it because music is my other love. I direct a rock-folk group at a UU church and enjoy writing and arranging music for them. And they’re very tolerant of my efforts. So far.

doebranch streamThis workshop is being held at a retreat center in the mountains of North Carolina, not too far from Asheville. There will be time for long walks in the woods beside a mountain stream. That’s when my regular cast of imaginary friends will come out to play. So it won’t be a TOTAL vacation. I’ll still be plotting and scheming on my work-in-progress.

 

 

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11 Responses to A Song in my Head/Heart?

  1. Rusty, it doesn’t surprise me that you’re involved in folk-rock group at your church. I’m sure it’s lots of fun and a wonderful spiritual practice at the same time. Enjoy the songwriting workshop!

  2. Song writing and poetry are both great ways to sharpen your ability to create strong images in a few words. Enjoy your creative time!

  3. I’m all about the song. In my novel to be released June 29th I wrote several songs. The title of the novel is One More Time is Not Enough, so hence the lyric.

    “When you walked through the door
    I knew . . . you were the one
    My heart said hello, but my head said run
    Before I knew it, I’d asked you to dance
    Time stands still in the arms of romance
    Pulled you close, kissed your lips, felt your fingers
    in my hair.
    Turning slowly, falling fast, trying hard not to care.
    You’re like whiskey and music
    With your hands all over me
    Turnin’ me on, like a sexy song
    Making it hard for me to breathe
    I should have seen the writing on the wall
    One more time is not enough
    When there’s nowhere left to fall .”

    Thanks, and have a great songwriting workshop.
    Tema Writing
    as Belle Ami

  4. Sounds like fun! Good luck on the song writing and fiction writing too! Hopefully you’ll share what you worked on.

  5. Hi Rusty, Enjoyed reading about your other talent. Consider sharing your work (or fragments) on a future SMP post 🙂

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