1. CariF

    CariF Member

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    building a singer for a character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CariF, Jan 4, 2020.

    hi

    i'm working on a novel and one of the main characters is a 26 yr old singer who has health issues.
    she's going into a phase where her singing career is at the top and has become tired of the sometimes superficial songs and wants to push her comfort zone by writing songs to reflect her struggles

    i've been great at describing and writing the actual story BUT i've struggled trying to do song lyrics and getting this to ryhme and also melodies

    is there a site or app that can help me?
    also there are a couple songs out there that have lyrics that really speak to me for this character but not sure if i can use them in my story, any advice?

    x
     
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  2. marshipan

    marshipan Senior Member

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    I read this story recently about a great poet. A award winning, sort of mythically popular poet. The author decided to not include any of his poetry. People in the story talked about his poetry a lot. Mentioned titles, themes, what it meant for them but never once did any actual line of poetry appear. In the afterword the author made it clear they did this on purpose because they couldn't try to write poetry that good.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't write the lyrics, if you want to then go for it. However, you don't have to.
     
  3. CariF

    CariF Member

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    lol i hadn't actually thought of that ... not to include actual lyrics.

    so would a way to write this in the story be like when the character is singing focus on how she sounds facial expressions and how her music makes others around her fell?
    maybe include a line or two that most speaks out? (this i can do but not a full on song lol)

    thank you for replying just joined today as i came across this site
     
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  4. marshipan

    marshipan Senior Member

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    I think that sounds like a good idea. Could even delve into the meaning behind the song as she sings: "as I sung the chorus i remembered when i first wrote it. Living in that little room at my parents, wishing I could just be happy. I lowered my pitch for a melancholic sound and the crowd swayed silently to the haunting music. Their eyes closed as they felt my words."

    Welcome to the forum!
     
  5. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My MC is a singer as well - I kind of took my forum name from his profession. He's a minstrel. I just went ahead and wrote some songs for him. They're folk songs from the various cultures he's been through, so they don't pertain to him, exactly. Maybe that makes it easier for me. If I had him write his own songs, so that they'd be meaningful to him, I'd probably find it more difficult.
     
  6. CariF

    CariF Member

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    thank you marshipan that would definetly add another layer to it and i can use that to bring more of the history that affects her life into the story actually

    minstrel did you just focus on the lyrics or did you add melody as well?
    i find it easier to have the image or what i'm writing about clear in my mind before writing it down

    but would using real songs that may link to the character or her situation be ok?
    for example i've heard a song where a couple lines really capture how she's feeling or her situation

    eg

    song: you don't know
    singer: Katelyn Tarver

    I know you've got the best intentions

    But right now I wanna be not okay
    I'm so tired, sitting here waiting
    If I hear one more "Just be patient"

    Let me just stop trying
    Let me just stop fighting
    I don't want your good advice
    Or reasons why I'm alright

    You don't know what it's like
    You don't know what it's like

    Can't stop these feet from sinking
    And it's starting to show on me

    ......................

    this is a powerful song and links so great with a part of the story in my mind where the MC illness is getting worse and treatment not working and she may need a heart transplant as the only option
    only she is losing the fight and her right hand person (the only person that really knows everything that's happening) is trying to keep her spirits up at the same time as trying influence her to tell her family (very strained relationships here)

    so just trying to think how to incorproate this into the story but not get in trouble for "stealing" a song, if you know what i mean i've tried to change the words to get the same feeling but sounds wrong!
    or maybe there's a way to get the feeling i want without actually using the lyrics to the song?
     
  7. CariF

    CariF Member

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    actually thats more than a couple lines lol just love this song for this particular part of the story ... just not sure how to use it
     
  8. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wrote both music and lyrics. Melody, chords, words, the works. I like writing songs. :)
     
  9. lonelystar

    lonelystar Active Member

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    I like your example above of discussing people's reactions to the songs but what about how she feels about sharing the song(s)? Is she nervous/hsppy/excited etc and why? Look at what memories or emotions you want to discuss and write a few lines to fit this emotion. Not happy it's good enough to be a song song? Well neither is she -its a draft that brought painful memories back and she I'd now crying. Frustrated and angry as well?
    On some songs you could discuss her feelings and other songs could be how someone else reacts, not always from her point of view.
    'Louise pressed play on the CD player. By the end of the first song I was in tears. all the hurt from when mom died came flooding back...'

    I think that in general you are better only putting a few lines in at a time as no one wants to pick up a novel and find a lyric book inside.

    Be VERY careful about real songs especially using lyrics as you have to bear in mind copyright issues and that you must have permission to use lyrics from a real song. I think using a real band name or song name is usually ok depending on the context it is used in.
    If a particular song speaks to you reference it but change its name and the band name to be on the safe side. Take inspiration from the lyrics themselves - done well this song could still be obvious to the reader.
     
  10. CariF

    CariF Member

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    thank you i've included her point of view to how she feels about the song and what memories it evokes as well.

    i've also decided to change the point of view from her as main character but also to who she is interacting in that scene or chapter so it gives more depth

    each chapter has 2 or 3 scenes and point of view changes only from her as main charater and to one other person so it's not confusing for the reader

    does this sound ok?
     
  11. lonelystar

    lonelystar Active Member

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    Glad to hear the suggestions have helped. It sounds good.

    Maybe you'll post something in the workshop soon?
     

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