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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Music Gap

A few months ago, I saw a writer asking if she could use song lyrics. (The answer is NO! Use the title only.) Only instead of just asking that question, she posted a snippet from her work with the song lyrics in it. I read it and I thought WTF?

Not because of the writing. There wasn't really enough to judge it, but it seemed fine. No, because the song she picked for her hero AND heroine to sing together was released in 1972.

Maybe her hero and heroine are in the 60s. It's possible. But they didn't read that way. Again, short snippet, so not easy to tell, but I would guess 20-something for their ages. And even though the song did hit number one, it was released in 1972!

I had to look up when the song was released and that it hit number one because I didn't know. I never hear it on the radio (BTW, I'm not going to say what song because I don't want to make this writer feel uncomfortable). I never hear anyone singing it or humming it. I never hear anyone talking about it when the topic of music comes up. In my estimation, this means that while the song was popular at the time, it didn't hold its ground like Beatles music or the Rolling Stones or others.

So the odds of two people in their 20s knowing this song well enough to sing it to each other is slim and none. Hell, I only vaguely remember it. I consider this a pretty big author fail.

Again, possibly the h/h are in their 60s and this would be a perfectly logical song for them to know and sing. But if I'm right about them being in their 20s or even 30s, this is a problem. The only way it works is if the author takes the time to justify why these two people know this song. And putting in that much back story on two separate characters and their tastes in music is not something I'd waste time on. It's just so much easier to give them a song from their own generation or find a completely different way to convey what my point is by this musical interlude.

I can also tell you unequivocally that as a reader I don't want to know that much about the h/h's choice in music unless they're musicians and this is a critical plot point in their story. I didn't get that impression.