I’m a novelist! Not a poet, not a songwriter.
Yet curiously, I’ve found myself having to write a song this month. Not because I think my novice guitar skills are going to see me through to the big time, and most definitely not because I have a singing voice (even the squirrels in the neighbourhood cover their ears when I try to sing!).
I’m writing a song because the two main protagonists in my next (Bella Books) romance novel are musicians and they are writing a song together. Which, of course, means yours truly is writing the song. And man, is it a weird experience. Who knew such a thing could be so hard? I mean, really, at least half the songs out there have lyrics that are trite and inconsequential, or worse, make no sense at all.
I imagine it’s the same the reaction most of us have had at one time or another after reading a book. The old I-Could-Do-Better-Than-That reaction. But like writing a novel, or a poem, or a news story, there are nuts and bolts and technique involved. Song writing, like any kind of writing, is a real craft that takes some navigating, some learning, and some plain old trying it out, falling on your face, picking yourself up and trying it again.
I could have taken the easy way out with this. Just glossed over it, said the two characters wrote a song together, title it and leave it at that. But it’s partly the journalist in me that wants to really know and understand what it’s like to write a song if that’s what my characters are going to do. Hopefully the hands-on work will show up in the quality of the book.
Songwriting isn’t the only virgin territory for me with this book. Part of my motivation for learning how to play the guitar is, yep, you guessed it, because of this novel. Which you’ve also probably guessed has a music theme to it. If my characters are going to play the guitar and be experts at it, then I need to play the guitar too (though I will never be an expert!) and at least have some understanding of what life is like for my characters.
I can’t say that this songwriting experience is going to want to make do it again after this novel is written, but I’m a writer. And being a writer means summoning some bravery and an adventurous spirit. So. There will be no Grammy award for me in the future, but writing a song is, at the very least, an interesting and fascinating experience!