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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lyrics and Titles

So. Sydney likes Lifehouse and Johnny Cash.
Quite a combination. Though really, I hadn't planned on using so many songs in Halcyon House. It just sort of worked out that way. The original idea was to use the "In Which" format, which two of my favorite authors, Patricia C. Wrede and Diana Wynne Jones use to great affect in their books (see The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Howl's Moving Castle) but it requires a lot of cleverness and ability to write those kind of chapter titles and not give too much away. So I decided to put it off for another story.
Now I basically raid my iPod for songs I think would go with the chapter and plot. So far I've used Switchfoot, Paramore, Taylor Swift, Leonard Cohen, and The Letter Black, just to name a few. I state the song title and the artist then I use a (brief) snippet of lyrics as my chapter title. For example, Chapter Three is "Out of Control" by Capital Lights. The format I'm using looks like this:
"Out of Control"--by Capital Lights
I'll write you out of the story like you knew that I would, living happily ever after never happens for good…
Of course, in the actual chapter, it looks a lot different. But I like using songs better than making up my own chapter titles; the lyrics do a much better job of explaining or foreshadowing the action that's about to take place than I would.
I've also decided to be a total cliche and have Sydney play an instrument. Two of them, actually. Specifically, guitar and piano. Every girl's dream, right? (Side note: to any guy besides Aaron who might read this--piano? Most romantic instrument ever. You will win any girl's heart if you can play a pretty song on the piano and play it well.) And it totally opens up the possibilities for me to use more songs! Especially Lifehouse. A lot of Lifehouse songs seem to speaking exactly for my Sydney. And Johnny Cash, as mentioned above. Hey, who doesn't like Johnny Cash? I've put a disclaimer at the top of the manuscript clearly stating that none of the songs used within are mine. I'm just using them because I like them so much.
Halcyon House might be winding down sooner than later, and I'll be sad to see it go. So I won't talk about it just yet. I'll just tell the story until Ayden and Sydney decide they want to get their acts together and put me out of my misery!
Over & Out,


  1. Sadly, Sis, you can't carry a piano on your back and serenade your intended beneath her window at night. Guitars are portable and practical. But yes, pianos are beautiful and classy. I'm not sure about your decision to use actual music in your story, since that requires some advance knowledge of the music you choose. It might make some readers disinterested, even if it enhances the experience for others. Use caution, is what I'm saying.

  2. The lyrics of the songs relate to the chapter in some way. And I'm using fairly current music, for I think it should be fine.

  3. What if Tolkein, or Lewis had put in songs that were popular when they were writing their stories: hmmmm? Don't think they'd be as popular now as they are if they were encumbered with popular songs by artists who will be long forgotten in 30 years.