Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing, Tunes, and Kick-Butt Storytelling

For me, good writing is like good music.

Good writing has a rhythm that's effortless--at least for the reader. :D Prose so smooth the words disappear, leaving the reader with images and feelings perfectly crafted by the writer. Voice plays a huge role in establishing this flow. Think Maggie Stiefvater--her prose is incredibly lyrical, and her voice leaps off from the page from word one. Same for Laini Taylor.

Music is the same. Bands like Snow Patrol, Coldplay, U2, The Beatles (I could on on FOREVER but I'll stop :D) are brilliant with musical composition. Snow Patrol is my all time favorite band for a million reasons, but Gary Lightbody's voice (very emotive) and the rhythm of SP's music combine to never let me go. (hehe) I'm a huge alt music junkie, and SP tops my list, but also love some good indie-folk-singer/songwriter stuff too. Sometimes I want to crank Silversun Pickups or Kasabian or Florence +The Machine, sometimes I want to listen to Jack Johnson or David Gray or Tristan Prettyman. But regardless, the music I love makes me feel. And that's why I listen. :)

Back to writing! Rhythm aside, don't underestimate the power of storytelling: books with characters and plots that grab you and won't let you go. A great storyteller can suck you in with a perfectly crafted visual that makes you pause and think "whoa." And after that whoa moment, you keep reading. Because YOU HAVE TO. Stephen King is a master storyteller. Ditto for J.K. Rowling.

It's the same with music. Sometimes I hear a lyric and think "whoa." So much packed into one line or one-chorus...well-done. 

Need examples? I've got 'em. :D

"On his face is a map of the world"
-30 Seconds to Mars "From Yesterday" (LOVE 30 Seconds to Mars)

"Blame the box with the view of the world
And the walls that fill the frame"
-Jack Johnson "Fall Line " (JJ is AMAZING in concert)

"You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter"
-Taylor Swift "Mine" (T. Swift is a BRILLIANT songwriter IMO)

So much packed into so few words, right?!

I think the best writing combines effortless rhythm with brilliant storytelling. 

Taste in music varies; it's as subjective as taste in books. But I think you can appreciate good music when you hear it (even if it's not your genre of choice), and likewise, I think you know good writing when you see it. :D

What do you think? What makes good writing? And what musical lyrics blow you away?

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree! I think what makes great writing, rhythm and brilliant story telling, is exactly what makes an amazing song. This was EXTREMELY difficult for me - to find just a few lyrics to share. The lyrics below convey SO MUCH in so few little words.

    Great post, Lynne! As you know, one of my fave subjects. : )
    Love, your music freak writer friend

    I need your grace
    To remind me
    To find my own

    Snow Patrol - CHASING CARS

    the only thing I'll ever ask of you
    you've got to promise not to stop when I say when

    Foo Fighters - EVERLONG

    Let's conspire to ignite
    All the souls that would die just to feel alive

    Muse - STARLIGHT