Friday, April 1, 2011

What We Can Learn From Songwriting

Adele is an English singer-songwriter who is well worth getting to know if you don't already. I just heard her new song, "Someone Like You," and it blew me away. Adele has a hauntingly beautiful voice. More than anything, however, it was the lyrics and their raw honesty that made me take note.

While I've never been in precisely the same situation as the singer or this song,I felt a real connection to it. I think we can all relate to the feeling of inadequacy, that our best isn't enough, or that someone else can give our love interest what they want more than we can. The lyrics tap into that feeling, suck you in and hold your attention there. And because of this, I used the song as a kind of soundtrack for a scene in my WIP where my character is really struggling.

Listening to this song over and over got me thinking about writing and books. Even if it's fantasy or paranormal or some contemporary setting that juxtaposes our own, if the characters have a quality (a personality trait or flaw) that we can really, truly recognize then it's more likely to be successful. I guess in truth what I'm saying is that when readers can see some flicker of themselves in a novel, the words feel more real, the story more authentic. The story can still be an escape for us but when we see ourselves in the characters it feels like we're more fully going along for the ride.

Do you agree? Do you find the books or songs that hold your attention are those where you can see yourself between the lines?


  1. Oh I absolutely agree!
    I sometimes have trouble reading a book where I can't possibly imagine going through what the characters are experiencing. But for example a Jodi Piccoult book I can (some, not all), because one of the characters is always a mother - so I can relate to the pain or heartache in a parent/child situation.
    Songs - the more heartache in the song the louder I sing!

  2. I agree and disagree. I love songs that speak to me, but I also really like to imagine and feel stuff that is out of my comfort zone. Dylan sings me stories that make my mind wander, and Joe Strummer makes me want to sit around and imagine things in the clouds all day and be totally outside myself.