Friday, February 17, 2012

When makes prose memorable?

Something I've been thinking about as I work on yet another round of editing is prose. What makes it memorable? Or in other words, what makes prose into good prose or great prose?

Let's look at some "memorable" examples from music (and see if I date myself a bit)

"Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance
Five hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had, and me." 

"I'm going out tonight-I'm feelin' alright
Gonna let it all hang out
Wanna make some noise-really raise my voice
Yeah, I wanna scream and shout
No inhibitions-make no conditions
Get a little outta line
I ain't gonna act politically correct
I only wanna have a good time"

or even

"And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did"

I think that each of these uses words to great effect. With Drops of Jupiter by Train it's extremely whimsical and nonsensical with its pieced together flashes of imagery. With I Feel Like a Woman by Shannia Twain it's beat driven, slangy, and upbeat. With Candle in the Wind by Elton John it's lyrical and flowing  with words that just roll one to the next using the past tense to set a mood of longing. 

Maybe it's because so many song writers have learned to use words to not only tell a story but create a feel of that story that so many authors have "writing sound tracks".  Personally I think I'd accidentally start writing about deep-fried dancing candles if I tried to listen while I typed though!

1 comment:

  1. You just simultaneously got these 3 songs in my head. ;) And I like "deep-fried dancing candles" -- too funny!