Music and Novels: Understanding Voice

September 28, 2008 at 7:27 am 6 comments

I kept thinking about music and how it ties in so easily with writing books. I’m going to tackle for the hundreth time, voice. My rule of thumb is don’t think about. It’ll be there as long as you don’t stiffle it. *which I’ve been known to do.*

Now how does voice tie into music?

Voice is as simple as hearing a song on the radio and knowing the singers identity. It goes past tone right to the infliction of words and the notes a singer holds.

Why I don’t think voice really involves tone?

You can have a light tone to a story vs. a dark tone and still voice will shine through.

Here are two examples of singers who write their own lyrics *80 percent of the time anyway*. First up is Alicia Keys *You Don’t Know My Name*:

From the day I saw you
I really really want to catch your eye
There’s something special ’bout you
I must really like you
Cause not a lotta guys are worth my time

Now one of my favorite singers at the moment, Chrisette Michelle *Like A Dream*:

His sticks was pounding on the drums
When I caught his eye
You know, my gosh, he looked at me
And he smiled at me
And he played to me
And I imagined that he spoke to me

They are both talking about the first time meeting a man. Along with the fantasy they’ve woven around this experience. Yet just looking at the word choice you can tell these are two different writers. They are approaching the same subject in a different angle.

I think that’s what voice is really about. It’s why Faking It is completely different from Homeport. *people frauding the art world.* It’s why so many writers say you can give a room of authors the same premise to a story and get a different execution of this premise from each author. It’s how YOU see the world. It’s why YOU are the only one who can tell the story. I completely agree voice also boils down to world view i.e. word choice.

But what I want you to take away from this post is to tell your story. Who cares if the boy meets girl story has been told a million times already. It’s what how you tell it that counts.

What other ways can music teach you about voice?


Entry filed under: craft, inspiration, Music and Novels, voice, writing. Tags: , .

Music and Novels The Touchy, Subject Fiction i.e. Women’s Fiction

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edie  |  September 28, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Great blog, Mel! I especially like Alicia Key’s line: “Cause not a lotta guys are worth my time.” There’s a woman who is self-confident and knows her worth.

  • 2. Kate Diamond  |  September 28, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I always make a playlist for the book that I’m writing. So does Libba Bray.

    I wish that making a playlist would make me into Libba Bray, but sadly that does not happen.

    Anyway, I’ve noticed that the tone of my stories tend to match tone of the music I’m listening to while I write them.

  • 3. Melissa Blue  |  September 29, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Alicia Keys just makes incredible music. She’s the only artist who I actually walk into a music store and buy her stuff. All the other music I download *for 12 bucks a month, can’t complain* But Alicia, I have to have her stuff the old fashioned way.

  • 4. Melissa Blue  |  September 29, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Anyway, I’ve noticed that the tone of my stories tend to match tone of the music I’m listening to while I write them.

    Totally, but I’m thinking for me it’s the chicken or the egg theory. Do I search out songs that fit the tone of my story? Or do I listen to music with a certain tone and that’s what my writing starts to reflect?

  • 5. pamwritesromance  |  September 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I agree–it’s how we tell the boy meets girl story, not necessarily the story itself.

    And music can teach you how far to draw something out, how dark or light to make it, and the words, oh those lovely lucious words. If you took away my music, you would literally kiill me.

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  September 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    If you took away my music, you would literally kiill me.

    Lol. I feel the same way. I’ve noticed when I start my morning’s off with music I have a much better day.

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