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  1. theoriginalmonsterman

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    How would you go about putting a song into a story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by theoriginalmonsterman, Jan 4, 2015.

    You'll probably confused what I mean by this, so let me try to clear it up a little. Basically in a story I'm planning to write I'm going to feature somebody singing a song; so would I use quotation marks around the song lyrics, a colon, or something else. The reason I ask his is, because there's a section in a Harry Potter I believe the first one where they're singing the Hogwarts song (sorry I can't remember too much about it I haven't read it in awhile) and I believe the story used a colon for the song. Anyways could someone possibly explain what I should use?
     
  2. !ndigo

    !ndigo Member

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    Don't trust me on the grammatical stuff but this is what I'd do...

    If you put it as one long chunk of text I'd use a colon and no quotes, just offset and maybe italicize with appropriate line breaks.

    blah blah blah blah they began to sing:
    _______Song song song
    _______sonngy singy song
    _______this is the song lalala

    _______more song more song
    _______falalalalala
    _______you get the idea...


    If you want to break up the song into bits this is where i'd use quotes (and maybe italics)

    blahblahblahblah Bob began to sing, "LAlaLAlaLA, song song more song"
    John and Joe looked at each other and smirked at his off key lyrics

    "Over the river and through the woods
    too grandmother's house we gooooooooooo"


    "Bob?" asked Larry

    "Song song song song
    more song song more song
    singing forever"


    "Bob, could you please shut up?"

    "Hogwarts Hogwarts Hoggy Wortty Hogwarts
    Teach us something please-
    weather we be old and bald
    or young with scabby knees-"


    "BOB! If you don't shut up I'm going to stuff this sock in your face!


    Anyway, on a totally different note, do you really really really need the song? I tend to get bored reading songs in books. I don't know the tune and it usually just comes across as a mess of pointless rhyming... Whenever I see huge page long chunks of song my first instinct is to skip them. If it's crucial to plot or something, maybe see if you can work it in in bits and pieces?

    Take a look at the Hobbit for song references, Tolkien includes a bunch and you can check how they are formatted.
     
    ogu and theoriginalmonsterman like this.
  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Here's a useful reference link for Tolkien songs:

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Songs
     
  4. theoriginalmonsterman

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Good old Lord of the Rings. Thanks for the help! :)
     
  5. theoriginalmonsterman

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    It's crucial to the character's personality, but don't worry it won't be like Stairway to Heaven I'll make it reasonably long.
     
  6. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm debating the same thing, putting singing in my story, but my first attempt was so hokey I haven't revisited the idea yet.
     
  7. theoriginalmonsterman

    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I've already got ideas about how my song will go and how it will fit in, but yeah it is a bit hokey if you don't play it right.
     
  8. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I made the horrible mistake of getting a musical education*, so I just write the music into the text. Nothing fancy, nothing ground breaking, but I like to think some special reader will get it.

    Edited to add: But everyone singing is a baritone or bass, because I learned bass clef, and never got around to treble.

    *It will ruin the radio for you. All I can think when some song comes on in b-flat 4x4 time (the McDonalds of signatures) is: What a talentless hack this song writer is. Blink 182 can send me into a rage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
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  9. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I don't mind singing in the books provided I can catch the tune in my head and it fits with the plot/characterization. Haven't we all sang something a time or two? Whether it be in a group or in the shower?

    That said, I'm not a good song writer by any means, so most of my characters don't really sing and if they did, I wouldn't be writing out the lyrics.
     

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