Trey Songz has immaculate writing skills. I don’t care what anyone says, he’s a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Doode has skillz (like how I used that “z”?)
In one of his more recent tracks–though most of his music is recent because he makes enough mixtapes to fill an iPod–Songz speaks about relationships. I’m talking about “Heart Attack” and for those of you unfamiliar with the track, you can guess from the title that this relationship didn’t end well.
For you writers out there, I want to analyze the lyrics to this song. It’s the perfect way to outline a novel.
We share something so common
Still so rare, uncommon all
Never been here before
So high, we’re still climbing
Even here inside these walls
Breaking each other’s hearts
And we don’t care cause we’re so
That’s description. He’s telling you about their “rare” relationship. As he drags out the verse, you may notice something–their unique relationship isn’t very positive. There’s a problem and neither partner cares to fix it.
If you’re going to begin with description, make sure you end the first chapter with tension. The reader is now forced to come back for more. What happens next?
Instead of bringing you back into the relationship, Songz tells you about the pain that he’s suffering from. Even more importantly, he only uses two lines to tell you: He’s not just suffering in the relationship, but in life–at work, on the road, or at a concert. You can nearly see him in a studio with characters laughing and joking about a track, but he’s in a corner staring at his phone.
Use subtlety. Don’t overdo things. You don’t need a lot of description to get a small idea across.
Now we see the pressure that’s in the relationship. We see conflict at home. The two partners are forcing themselves to love when they know how distant they are.
Use opposing forces. A lot of writers make things very obvious: you laugh when you’re happy and smile when you’re sad. Try complicating matters by making a character frown at a joke or cry–for what looks like no reason at all–when they’re being embraced
And it hurts,
Cause I wanna leave, and you wanna leave
But the loves keeps us together
In too deep, can’t think about giving it up
But I never knew love would feel like a heart attack
It’s killing me, swear I never cried so much
Cause I never knew love would hurt this bad
The worst pain that I ever had
What I’m interested in is discovering more about their relationship at the end of this song. Why are they this way? Why doesn’t he explain more? What’s driving them apart?
If there were a part two to this story, I’d gladly listen.
Only provide the reader with what will make them want more. You create a problem for the reader that they can only solve by finishing your novel.
How do you feel about the song? Does it evoke emotion?