We've made it to Wednesday! I'm having fun with the Midweek Grooves idea, so this may become a thing. Today's Midweek Grooves involves a lesson in writing...so I hope you enjoy.
5 Things Bohemian Rhapsody Teaches Us about Writing
This morning, on my way to work, I turned over to our classic rock radio station. The melancholy tones of the first part of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody burst forth from my speakers. Of course, I had to turn it up and sing along with Freddie Mercury’s moving and amazing voice. I’ve had a lengthy history with this song, although probably not as long as others.
My introduction to the song came by way of an a capella group called The Baker’s Dozen from Yale University. They traveled all the way to Colorado on tour and visited my high school. For all us silly, squealing girls, a group of handsome college guys singing such a lament-filled tune threw our hormones into overdrive. So you can certainly imagine why this song made such an impression on my memory.
Later, just like any kid of the 80s and 90s, I was, like, totally into Saturday Night Live. I know every generation believes they had the best cast, but seriously—Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, John Lovitz, Kevin Nealon. Yeah, we had the best. So when Wayne’s World hit the big screen, I was so there. The entire audience partied on with Wayne, Garth, and their buddies when Bohemian Rhapsody blasted in their car.
Okay, so we’ve established what a great song it is, but what does it have to do with writing? Well, let me tell you. As I sang the words this morning, I really listened to them. And I believe we can learn a lot from this classic song.
1. Avoid backstory. We don’t know what happened beforehand. All we know is this guy killed another, and he’s on the run. Sure, your curiosity is piqued, but with the forward motion of the words, the details surrounding the murder don’t matter.
2. The power of the right words. “Didn’t mean to make you cry,” is such a tender line. Those six words reveal a great deal about this guy’s relationship with his mom. He loves her. He cares about her feelings. He wants to make her proud.
3. Mystery creates tension. There’s lots of speculation over the true meaning behind the lyrics of the song, yet your ear and mind are drawn in, trying to figure out what it is they are singing about. You’re emotionally invested and involved from the first note because you want to find out what’s happening.
4. Shifts in voice can change the tone. We go from the sad sob story of the murder to a bright operatic sound that’s just so much fun to mimic. Our mood lightens, giving us a much needed break from the heaviness of the first part of the song.
5. Banging your head will make you dizzy. Whether you’re rocking out to the face-melting electric guitar or banging your head on your desk out of frustration while writing, you’ll end up regretting it. Still, sometimes it’s necessary. On both counts.
Who knew one little (all right, epic!) song could hold so much truth about writing?
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3