Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just Shut Up And Sing!

Yesterday, I discovered a pet peeve.

I've had an inkling of my hatred for this particular thing, but it was only yesterday that I embraced it in full force.

What thing, you ask?

When singers interrupt their songs to TALK.

I don't mean when they do it in concerts--this is completely acceptable.

I mean when they do it on their albums, right in the middle of a great song. You know the sort: they belt out the notes, then do an acting segment pretending they're speaking to another person.

Example: Girl sings about a boy she met at a diner, then "calls him on the phone" to ask him out on a date (yes, that's a real song...).

My three-minute nirvana = kaput.

I know you're probably asking yourself why I've chosen this odd topic to rant about (and if you're not, just pretend for me!)

Simple: It reminded me of overwriting, of those long passages of description or dialogue that serve no purpose than to repeat what has already been said. Or to emphasize what can be said in a much more concise way.

Draft #3 has taught me a lot, peeps. It's taught me to just shut up and sing. To tell my story using the right words, not the prettiest ones. Those aren't always the ones who get the job done. Every writer struggles with telling their story in the best way possible, often going down wrong paths and picking themselves back up. Apparently, songwriters could use a tip or two from all of you. So please show them how it's done--crappy monologues need not apply.

Neither does excessive 'telling'. There should be a nationwide ban on the thing.

I'd like to thank Female Singer/Talker for inspiring me. Sucks that I can't listen to that song anymore...

P. S. Supernatural fans out there, click here for a dose of awesomeness!


  1. This is my pet peeve, too. It ruins the song for me. The only time I like it is when I listen to ABC's "The Look of Love," because I'm a sucker for a British accent.

    Good analogy, by the way.

  2. Oh I hate the telling. But sometimes it still sneaks into my wip. I'm so grateful for my critique group! =)

  3. Oh now I'm dying to hear that song! I'm racking my brains for other samples - but it's 9am Sunday morning and I've not had my coffee!


    I love your most succint advise "Just shut up and sing"!


    take care

  4. I love Supernatural. Honestly though, I wish they would get off the whole Apocalypse thing and go back to just hunting the garden variety demons.

    That interrupting the song to talk thing, irks the heck out of me too. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. yes, i hate reading novels where it's all tell and not show.
    i try desperately to keep that from happening in my work, but sometimes it sneaks on in!

  6. *Just shut up and sing* is going to be my new mantra! What a great writing analogy. Love this.

  7. Ha I do that a lot when I write my first draft. But i feel like if there is more than I have more options of how to say something and can cut the rest later. But I agree, overtalking over-does it. It gers annoying, it's like that friend that tells you the same story 5 times in a day because they can't remember if they already told you it or if you got the point. It's annoying. Ha my beta is prob slightly annoyed with my repetition but it can't be helped (for me at least) at first, until you've gone through a few drafts, but yes, it is annoying if you are still repeating the same stuff in your final draft.

    Haha I opened that extra dose link but closed it right away because I have not seen the rest of this supernatural season and don't want to spoil the surprises for myself. I'm having a supernatural marathon this summer!!!!

    Oh yeah, I hate when song writers and authors over talk too!!!

  8. Great post.
    I hate talking in songs when it doesn't even need to be in there. :)
    Now I must shut up and sing back to my edits. lol.

  9. What a fantastic episode of Supernatural that was!

  10. Yay for no talking in songs!!!! I seriously thought this only bugged me, so it's great to see others who support my cause :D

    As for Supernatural, I'm loving this season, but I just now I'm gonna cry on the finale. It's this Thursday, so I don't really have time to brace myself! I'll probably take a time off from writing because of my sadness!

    Happy writing to everyone!

  11. Now, see, this is a great post. And perfect metaphor. I'm guilty of overwriting my first drafts. Much like that song, I'll start off with a bang and then just interrupt the HELL out of myself by wading too far into the wastelands of my character's internal state. It's A) a gross invasion of the action and momentum and B) totally cut out in my later drafts :D Nice post!!