Monday, July 13, 2015

Music of the Night

A while back, I had an idea that in an upcoming scene I wanted to write that a character of mine would be singing a song. Or, maybe not a song exactly. Originally, whatever this brilliant composition would end up being was supposed to be something like a childhood rhyme that girls might recite on the playground while jumping rope, or something that would be accompanied by an intricate hand jive. "Miss Mary Mack"- esque,  if you will, but darker and potentially creepier. You know, something that would fit in the world of my novels.

So I spent some time following that decision brainstorming lyric ideas, but nothing really took. I had an opening line that I was fond of, but nothing to follow it. Then last week (Last Wednesday, to be exact), Camp NaNoWriMo helped me get to the point where I kind of had to start writing that scene in which the song/rhyme was needed. I couldn't put it off any longer.

If you follow my author page on Facebook, or my Twitter feed, you may already be aware that I had spent the majority of Wednesday afternoon working on this song—just the lyrics, mind you—because by then, the concept had fully become a song. If you were curious, me working on a song looks an awful lot like me wandering around the house (and possibly Large Mart and the Dinn Wixie (just try to crack that clever code—go on! I dare you!)) trying to think of words that rhyme. Fortunately, none of those words were 'orange.'



Eventually (thankfully) it clicked, and I successfully wrote the lyrics to a (very short) song.

When I sat down to write those lyrics into my manuscript that night, I started to sing those lyrics to various melodies because that's just how my brain works. Then I broke out the iPad piano (I miss having a proper piano. That is all.). Then I decided that I just had to write down the music to accompany my lyrics.

Back in high school and early on in my college career, I wrote a lot of music. A lot. But I hadn't done it a good long while. So long that I had no idea where any of my blank staff paper might have been. (Some day, I will finish unpacking all of my boxes...but it is not this day.)

So, like a crazy person, I made my own:


A sample draft. I need a better eraser.


It was such a productive way to spend a night.

Especially because after I finished the first song, I went right on ahead and wrote a second song. (Who needs to write words anyway?) The second song is about the loss of innocence and demons and dying. So naturally, it ended up as a jaunty-sh jig-like thing.

Because that's how my brain works.

Anyway, I spend the entire night and most of the next day singing my two brand new songs (That one dog is really glad he's deaf.) because they were stuck in my head and I was kind of excited about them. In endlessly doing so, I slowly realized that my songs bore a striking slight resemblance to songs I had heard before. Only I couldn't figure out which ones.

It took me a while to work it out, but Sunday morning in the shower, it finally came to me:


and




So.....It's possible I won't be winning a Grammy any time ever. The next drafts will be better. Or maybe they'll sound like Bon Jovi. Time will tell.

But the whole song-writing experience left me feeling surprisingly good about my WIP. I'm keeping pace with Camp NaNoWriMo, and while there's definitely some heavy revising in my not-so-distant future, I'm not hating the story as much as I was last month. This is not to suggest that I won't be in the opposite state of mind next week, or even later on today, but at the moment, I'm happy with how things are going.

How unusual.

That's going to do it for me today. I'll try to do better the next time. Until then, all.

36 comments:

  1. I think you're amazing. You write music too? Wow! Good-luck with the rest of your writing during NaNo. You can do it!

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  2. You write music, too?! I'm impressed. :)

    I have to say, I really love the idea of a creepy Miss Mary Mack type of thing. :)

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    1. I do, too. Which means that I'll probably have to attempt a third song at some point. :)

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  3. Yay for happy! And it's Monday! What could be better than being happy on a Monday? Ok, maybe a few things, but a happy Monday is definitely a good thing!

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    1. This is one of the few Mondays whose face I don't want to punch. Thanks, songwriting!

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  4. That's really cool you wrote two songs! I don't write new ones often, but it is fun to do. Now you can use them for inspiration!

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    1. It really is fun to write songs. I just really have to get some better equipment on which to work.

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  5. That's incredibly awesome that you wrote two songs! I know at some point I'll need to at least write some lyrics for my books, but I have zero musical talent, so...avoiding it until it's necessary.

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    1. Just worry about the lyrics now. Then get someone to write the music for them later. Once I work out the main melody that doesn't resemble a song about magic dragons, I was thinking about recruiting someone to score the rest.

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  6. I've written a lot of lyrics but I've never put any of them to music.

    What does rhyme with orange, anyway?

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    1. According to James Franco, not much. :)

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  7. I love to write song lyrics, but I have no idea how to make music. *sighs* I'm always so much happier after I write a song too. :)

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    1. I started learning music in middle school. some of it (definitely not all of it) stuck. I'm grateful for that all the time.

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  8. That's so awesome you wrote the songs! I find it difficult enough just to write haikus. =P

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    1. Wait...what if I write haiku songs???

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  9. Write songs? You are so talented.
    http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/2015/07/rifftrax-sharknado-2-review-plus.html

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    1. Well, I'm not sure how talented I am. I think my musical skills are pretty basic, really. But I do love to play around with it, regardless.

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  10. A few years ago, Eminem tried to rhyme some words with orange. I can't remember what he used, but he made a good effort.

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    1. In orange's case, I'd think one would have to go for some imperfect rhyme. I'm guessing Eminem did something like that.

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  11. That is cool you wrote two songs. My hubby used to write songs to play on his guitar, but he hasn't done it in a long while. I had a story were I made up a verse from a song because the story needed it, but I never thought about figuring out the rest of the song.

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    1. I hadn't intended to write out the entire song. It just kind of happened.

      And I have never been able to figure out the guitar. My significant other plays it, and he tried to teach me once. I just couldn't get the hang of it.

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  12. Congrats on the two new songs! But sorry about the derivative melodies... reminds me of the Malcolm in the Middle episode where he pours his heart into a song, then his brother points out it's the exact same tune as a Meow Mix commercial. I figure yours will both turn out much better.

    Also, orange? Door hinge. You're welcome.

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    1. I just find it hilarious that my brain came up with "Puff the Magic Dragon" as a song from which to "borrow."

      Thanks for the orange rhyme...I'll have to write a song around it. :)

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  13. I LOVE the idea of a creepy nursery rhyme! Although, most nursery rhymes are creepy once you research the lyrics, haha. It's so cool that you can write and think of music - I took music as a GCSE and it was my worst subject. Unfortunately, I'm just not musically inclined! Good luck with the rest of Camp!

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    1. Music was always one of my best subjects. For a while, I thought I might pursue it as a career. Ended up a writer instead.

      And you're so right about nursery rhymes.

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  14. Good work keeping the pace on NaNo! Writing original songs is always tricky. There are only 12 notes to work with, and most of the pleasing combinations have already been used by other people.

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    1. I'm happy that I've been able to keep the NaNo pace, but I would really, really love to get a little bit of a lead. Maybe I can manage that this week if I resist the urge to write more songs.

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  15. Cool! I don't think I could ever write a song, even a small one :). It's very impressive that you put so much effort into things like that.

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    1. I was thinking it was more bizarre than anything, so thanks!

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  16. Your book has become a musical! Congrats. You'll have to do a YouTube and sing them for your future readers. It'll have to be part of the blog tour when the book comes out.

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    1. I knew when I added that scene with the jazz hands last month that I was just asking for trouble. :)

      And I have considered recording myself performing those songs. Scary, that.

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  17. I'm impressed. I can barely write two lines that rhyme, let alone anything resembling poetry or music.

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    1. Rhyming's overrated. A lot of great poetry doesn't rhyme. My brain just gets stuck in that mode. I'm like that scene in Princess Bride. (Anybody want a peanut?)

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  18. Yay for songs! I've written song lyrics before, but I'm dumb when it comes to actual music. I leave the music stuff to my best friend who has a bachelors in that stuff, and I just go about my business singing off-key. :)

    You should record the songs and play them for us!

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  19. When you started talking about dark jump rope songs I immediately thought of Nightmare on Elm Street. 1,2 Freddie's coming for you. 3,4 better lock your door... etc.

    Glad you're on track with your wip!!

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