Re: Songs in do you do it right?

My episodic anime is an action story called The VocaLords. It currently consists of five Episodes. I wrote a song or two for each one of the Epsiodes, and incorporated the lyrics of the song into the telling of the tale.

So, what I do is intersperse the lyrics with lines of dialogue and descriptive narrative, indicating what is going on with the audience and the musicians.
And voilà! 🎶🎸🎵

Re: Songs in do you do it right?

InkEscape Wrote: Hi guys. My current book has a song in it. What's a way to do it without it being tedious to read? Thoughts?
Honestly, I can't think of a single exampled where I thought it was done well, but I'm sure it's possible. Hopefully, you'll be the first... Good luck!
The Last Philosopher is a high-fantasy story with heavy-handed attempts at humour.
It revolves around the world of Huom and some of its quirkier inhabitants.
It’s the first book under the subtitle, Nothing is Everything.

Re: Songs in do you do it right?

Since you can't hear music in prose form, your lyrics are going to be everything. I dunno what type of music you're going for, but it would probably be best off if your lyrics rhyme and had some sort consistent flow in terms of line length. I don't know the exact word, but different types of poems have different terminology for how their verses are structured. And I don't just mean "limericks" and "haikus". The Gravemind from Halo, for example, spoke in trochaic or iambic heptameter verses. Some examples of his dialogue are:

This one is machine and nerve, and has his mind concluded.
This one is but flesh and faith, and is the more deluded.

There is much talk, and I have listened through rock and metal and time.
Now I will talk, and you will listen.

This one's "containment", and this one's "Great Journey", are the same.
Your Prophets have offered you freedom from a doomed existence,
but you shall find no salvation on this ring.

I don't know where the trochaic heptameter begins or ends, but you can kind of see that verses in poems or poetic speech have a flow to them, and what is a song other than a poem set to instruments? Write a poem and put it in italics.

If there's a moment where the character is doing a wicked guitar riff or an incredible drum solo, you obviously can't make the readers hear it. But you can describe the character playing it. Make them expressive. Make them--or the listeners--get lost in the music. Do they look like they've tuned out the world around them, glaring intensely into the distance as their fingers dance across the strings of their bass? Are they all over the stage, every action an exaggerated celebration of music itself, and the life that allows them to experience it? Are their drumbeats so quick that it seems like there are more sounds being produced than there are sticks to produce them?

Re: Songs in do you do it right?

I have to agree with TienSwitch, Lyrics are EVERYTHING. 

The audio book version of The Blacktongue Thief that has a lot of poems and songs do it with striking lyrics, and the reader (the author himself) does an amazing work singing the songs and reciting the poems. They are also a good read: 
“My five Upstart sons are all bloody and brave
I’ve got one on the gallows, and two in the grave
One is your prisoner, and none is your slave

“Pish,” said Gormalin. “That’s a war song!”

I’ve got one in the hills that you never have met
And though he is young, he will murder you yet
For the hour is coming you’ll answer your debt

“That song’s illegal!” he protested, and right he was. It’s the very song that got Kellan na Falth hanged. “You can’t sing about men killing men since the Goblin Wars! Especially not a song against a proper king of Holt, even an old, bad king!”
Now, of course, I joined in.

My five Upstart sons have declared against you
Their tongues are as black as their promise is true
And they’ll call you to answer whatever you do!

No Coldfoot guard was going to be left out of an illegal Galtish rebel song, so Malk picked up the next verse with us, his strong, confident baritone suddenly making the whole insurrection seem credible.

The crown you so love sits but light on your head
The castle you stole has a cold, stony bed
And though I am old, I will yet see you dead
You’ve hundreds of men with long swords and long knives
But you’ve lain with near half of their fair Galtish wives
And none of them love you to lay down their lives
Abandon your tower and open your gate
No silver-bought army can alter your fate
If all my five perish, my neighbor has eight
Our ten thousand sons have declared against you
Their tongues are as black as their promise is true
And they’re coming, they’re coming, whatever you do”
― Christopher Buehlman, The Blacktongue Thief
Also this one just gives me the shivers:
Just put something like that in italics and ba-da-bing-bada-boom. 

Re: Songs in do you do it right?

At the risk of being a killjoy, don't.

Writing songs is completely different from writing books. From personal experience, whenever I encounter a song in a story, my reaction is dread. I have to choose between reading the thing and being bored. Or skip it and miss vital plot information. I feel nothing when I read the lyrics. Nothing except irritation that the author is wasting my time. Books are a visual medium that conveys information to the audience through letters. Songs are an audible medium that conveys the content through voice and music.

When you try to include an audible medium in a text, it loses virtually all the effect. And it can make the writer look pretentious for thinking the lyrics alone would entertain the reader. Even J.R.R Tolkien could not successfully pull it off, and he came from a time when singing was more common. Many people cite his songs as their least favorite part of the book.

As such, I would only include a song in a story if the song conveyed vital information for the plot or in some way helped the characters arc. Even then, you should focus on how the song or music makes the character feel and not force the reader to read through your verses.