This week: Songs Tell StoriesEdited by: Annette
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Hello readers and writers of short stories, I am Annette and I will be your guest host for today's issue of the Short Stories newsletter.
Songs Tell Stories
A lot of people think of the lyrics in songs to be closer to poetry than short stories. That feels like a simple enough and true enough way to look at the words in a song.
Of course, there are always those songs that don't actually say anything at all. One of my uncles called those "Yogurt." Yogurt is not the title or even the subject of any existing song. Or at least there is no particular song that he was referring to. What he was talking about was the emerging French rap music of the 1990s. Instead of attempting to create any type of musical or story telling effect through lyrics, those French rappers would literally (ha!) sing words in non-sensical strings of words for the sound of those words alone. What each word meant or the next was completely irrelevant. If those songs had a story in them, it's that some stories are too weird for words. Maybe. Or those words just sounded fun when put in a long line of words.
Of those songs that have actual lyrics, many of those tell a story. This is where it gets interesting for the short story writer. Songs are limited in the amount of time and lyrics they can fit in. There are thousands of love songs that tell the eternal story of boy meets girl. Building on that, there are songs that tell love stories of other types of love and love fails. The point is that all of those love songs tell a story of meeting someone, falling for them, and then either spending a great time with them or whining about unrequited love.
Country is famous (infamous) or known for telling stories that go something like, "My truck broke down, my girl ran away, and my dog died."
Heavy Metal's stories go all the way from yelling about love to telling you that there is a monster under your bed.
Short story writers on Writing.Com have taken some of those musical influences and taken them to turn them into short stories. Those short stories may be a fictionalisation with exageration of what's going on in a particular song. Or those songs provided the imagery and creative kick in the ears to get a short story going.
Writing short stories as a reaction to music is not some byzantine concept that is unheard of (ha!). You can do it right here by checking out the contests and short stories linked in the Editor's Picks.
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I received the following replies to my second to last short stories newsletter "Golden Silence"
kranand wrote: Yes silence is not always golden.
While I was curious about the implication of being silent I bumped across the GOLDEN WORDS YOU HAVE WRITTEN AS ADVISE HOW TO WRITE SHORT STORIES.
Actually personally these are very helpful for a writer!
dragonwoman wrote: Silence can be golden, but if you are too silent, most people take it for weakness or worse yet, agreement with something they said. It's not whether you speak out, but how you do.
brom21 wrote: Thanks for this NL. Your tidbit on open-ended conclusions for novels really helped. Cutting of the climax in attempt to hook people for sequels must not happen. It is hard to avoid climax omission though. lol. Thanks again.
hullabaloo22 wrote: An interesting piece, and I can definitely see what you mean. I have written a few dialogue free stories, but I guess they generally have inner thoughts. Mostly I use dialogue sparingly, perhaps because I'm worried about how authentic it sounds. Having entered the Dialogue 500 a couple of times now it is something that I've been working on.
Thanks for an interesting newsletter.
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