Topic: On the Nature of the Suspension of Disbelief and Show Don't Tell
Okay so I want to write a long running space opera with a huge cast of characters, my five "main" characters are actually some high schools who formed a light music/rock band. They are also unlikely in my current stage of brainstorming ever going to be anywhere "near" the action and are more meant as a breather between the combat and thriller aspects of the story and give exposition and contrast.
Basically a slice of life romantic comedy genre shift away from the epic space war.
Now however I'm left with a dilemma that I think some of the cynical of you are probably already guessing at.
I am not a song writer and have never written a song before.
So I am left with a choice, do I write around this "Light Novel" style (like in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) where you describe a concert scene and peoples reaction and elaborate on the mood step by step but run the risk of making them Mary Sueish by never showing them actually singing (because while amateur they have talent) and yet having everyone they meet congratulate them on how good they are for their age.
Or do I put in some effort and actually write some songs but run the risk of breaking peoples suspension of disbelief by the songs not being all that special or even good?
There's always the third option of doing a mix of both and then finding someone who can songwrite and have them do it if I get serious about this but that presents other problems.
Writing a musical typically requires that the writer be able to write music, since the whole work is framed around musical numbers. This is why Avenue Q, or say UrineTown, both suck so badly (IMHO): they were written as overly clever plays that were turned into musicals by people who don't particularly appreciate the demands of building a specific musical voice into a show. They also seem to have been written by people who have less than an evolved concept of song structure, and why and how it actually works. On the other hand, shows like The Sound of Music can have memorable and catchy music that motivates the story as it entertains.
If you write the libretto as if you were writing poetry, you'll miss quite a lot of what makes songs and musicals memorable, and what actually makes them *work*.
Just as a for example, there's nothing particularly *wrong* with your libretto above. It's not particularly interesting to me, but it's not bad. What makes it not work is that it isn't anything like a song. Songs and Arias are structured in specific ways so that the narrative concept of the song evolves through a progression from chorus to verse. Now, you may say: "I'll just add choruses later," but that would be taking a serious misstep. Typically the biggest stumbling block in writing songs is that the song-writer has a lot to express through lyrics, and doesn't appreciate that the song is should be built up from choruses- not simply anchored by them. The chorus is the essence of the song. It should usually come first in the creative process. If you have no chorus, it's a fair bet you aren't certain what your song is about. So if you want to write songs, I suggest just bandying about ideas for choruses first, and then only much later adding verses. Listen to the early Beatles for some stellar examples of what I'm talking about. And if you want proof of concept, just try to remember off the top of your head the first verse of any song from any musical you've ever seen. Personally, I can name you ten choruses, and not a single verse.
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