1.5 Writing Songs about, and for, Fictional Characters

I noted earlier that sometimes you will not feel any inspiration to write, even if you want to write. You may find, however, that when you cannot write for yourself, you can write for characters. By putting yourself in the shoes of a character, you may find that inspiration suddenly shows up.

It is an important fact about being human that we can see the world not only through our own eyes, but through the eyes of others. And it is likewise important that we can see the world through the eyes of people who don’t even exist. When we take another person’s point of view—whether that person be factual or fictional—we experience new things. And these new experiences may be just what you need to find inspiration to write.

So, if you ever find yourself stuck, you might try writing a story song—a song about someone else. This would be a song primarily in the “third person” (using pronouns like “her,” “them,” and “him”). Or, alternatively, you might try “imaginatively putting yourself into the world of a story,” and write a song for a fictional character in that world. This would be a song primarily in the “first person” (i.e., a song mostly using pronouns like “I,” “me,” and “my”).

The world would be a worse place if all we had were non-fiction books. Likewise, if all we had were factual songs. Lyricists can be storytellers, and storytelling means not only talking about characters and events, but also writing in the voice of characters going through events.

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