My book (Title TBD) is a fantasy that takes a normal guy into a world of druids, elementals and ancient gods. It’s been done before, I know. Still, I think this particular iteration of that trope is very promising! LOL
Now, in a situation like this (in the book, I mean), I knew some sort of ancient rituals would come into play. You know, gods + druids = rituals. And they did!
As I was writing the scenes in which rites are being practiced, I quickly realized just talking about the rituals is pretty boring. It didn’t matter how well I tried to describe the surroundings, the mood, or the characters involved, the scenes struck me as lackluster at best. I’m still going to try to improve on all those facets of the story, of course. But, in my mind, the missing component was the core of the ritual – the chant, the incantation, or song.
Now, I have written songs before – indie tunes I’ve played and sung at local open mics. While I was never booed off the stage, none of them is likely to make the top 40 on any kind of chart. In fact, they’re unlikely to make any chart at all! Anyway I’m a little trepidatious about using my largely untested songwriting skills in the story.
I say that because I’ve seen songs or snippets of tunes incorporated into other books, and the results have been mixed. There have been times a good song has elevated a scene for me. There have been others where I’ve felt let down by the pedestrian lyrics in an otherwise enjoyable story. My goal is, obviously, to write songs that will support and enhance the tale!
Another concern I have is the songs for this book are going to be hugely different from the lyrics I’ve penned before. These songs must be re-imagined tunes that celebrate the wonders of a different age, a different realm, a different life. At the same time, I want them to have a somewhat updated, relevant feel.
Seems like a tall order. Maybe I’m over-reaching. I suppose the only way I’ll know is if I try, so I’m going to embrace the challenge. In fact, I’ve already written one and a half songs for Title TBD. I have a few more to go.
During my first draft, I had to put place holders in for most of the tunes because writing songs is a very different process for me than writing prose. Similar, sure, but different enough that pushing to complete each song in turn was interrupting progress on the story.
Filling in the lyrics is part of what I have to tackle in my first couple of editing passes. If I’m feeling adventurous, I might post a verse or so here.
My usual means of testing a song’s relatability has been those open mics I mentioned. Right now, however, I couldn’t get to an open mic if I wanted. And I’m not sure the local musicians would really understand why I was reciting verses or singing a song fit for an ancient religious ceremony.
Here’s hoping for good lyrical juju to accompany my efforts in the days and weeks to come and success in your writing projects, too.