Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musical Stories

By Nichole Giles

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a music lover. There is no one specific type of music I love more than another, and when people try to fit me into a style slot, none of them ever feels quite right. In the same way I love reading different genres of books, I listen to different types of music for different reasons.

The pull of music is strong. Few people I know can resist a really good beat, or a catchy tune that just makes you want to move—whether you’re showering, cleaning, or driving. But the best songs are the ones that tell a story. I have gained serious admiration and appreciation for songwriters who want to tell a story, and who not only do so a few stanzas, a chorus and a bridge, but also are able to make it rhyme. That’s an amazing and difficult feat.

Talk about tight writing.

Those of us who write novels, articles, and blogs can take a lesson from music. Songs must follow a rhythm as well as a pattern, and still rhyme while telling an emotional story in the fewest words possible.

Consider these songs:
Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer
Just a Dream by Carrie Underwood Stupid Boy by Keith Urban
Hotel California by The Eagles Whatever it Takes by Lifehouse
Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx What I’ve Done Linkin Park
Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay Concrete Angel by Martina McBride
Ode to my Family by the Cranberries Me and Emily by Rachel Proctor
Say Goodbye by the Dave Matthews Band Gasoline by Sheryl Crow
Traveling Soldier by the Dixie Chicks Georgia Rain by Trisha Yearwood
Backseat of a Greyhound Bus by Sarah Evans Lithium by Evanessence
The Glory of Love by Peter Cetera Fighter by Christina Aguilera
Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers

The songwriters have told an entire story that, added to music, beat, and rhythm, wraps itself up in around five or six minutes and leaves the listener emotionally satisfied, and often wishing for more. Personally, I listen to my favorites over and over again until I know them word for word and beat for beat.

That takes some serious writing skill.


Keith Fisher said...

I could tell how important music is to you when I saw you writing your lastest WIP and you had earbuds, listening to music to set the mood for your scene.

Nichole Giles said...

Yep, music makes a big difference in my writing. My whole life is generally set to music--even if it is in my head most of the time.

Thanks for commenting!

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

I totally agree with you, Nicole. Music is high on my list of loves, too, and it has definitely affected both my stories and my writing ability.

Nichole Giles said...

It's a wonderful thing to love! I'm glad to know we have that in common.

Thanks for commenting.