Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Monday: Colbie Caillat's "Begin Again"

First: Be sure to check out the League blog to see if you won the signed swag prize pack and to see my thoughts on dystopian settings!

Today, I want to feature a single by Colbie Caillat, who's most famous for her song "Bubbly." This sound, "Begin Again" has the same bright feeling, but the song's lyrics aren't as light and fun--it's a song about the end (or perhaps the beginning) of a relationship.

I'm currently working on something with my own characters. Something bad happened, and they're trying to figure out how to move on after.

But it also reminded me to two things that I like when reading about characters. First, the opening lyrics say, "I can't get you out of the sunlight / I can't get you out of the rain." What I love about this is that it's basically saying you can't make a person's thoughts and feelings change. No matter how much you love someone, if they're in a dark place, you can't make them quit being depressed. If they're in love, you can't make them love someone else instead. A weaker aspect of some romance, in my opinion, is making love solve all the problems. Love isn't love because it solves all the problems simply by its existence. Love is love because it enables you to find the strength and courage to solve your problems.

Another thing I like about this song is found in the chorus: "Oh this is not the way it should end / This is the way it should begin."

This one's not just about love, although it can be. Which is the better romance--the one where the main characters fall instantly in love at first sight, or the one where the main characters have to fight to be together--and just when you think the story's going to end, they find happily ever after? The chorus represents that to me--that after the fighting and troubles, it shouldn't end, but go on.

But in looking at stories, the chorus has another meaning. My book is a dystopia--the world's a bit grim. So I start the story not at the beginning of the good stuff--but after, after everything's gone wrong, after all the problems have started, after everything looks like nothing can be good again.

And really--most good stories start that way. Start with the problem that should end the character's world--make that the beginning of the story, so the story focuses on the character's struggle toward making good again. Start with the bad, and make it good.

Lyrics found online here (here's a sample of the opening):
[deleted to avoid copyright infringement]


Melissa said...

Wow. This song was amazing and I loved the way you compared it to characters in books. I believe you are right on all accounts. I'm seriously tired from studying for my midterm and being up for almost 36 hours so I can't muster up a brilliant response. All I've got for you is WOW.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

'Start with the bad and make it good.' You're on fire. This is a great post.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great post! I agree with you on the love thing. I think a lot of YA books (especially the paranormal ones) make that mistake. :)

Karen Lange said...

Ah, hadn't thought about it like this, thanks for sharing. I love other perspectives on things like this. I get so wrapped up in my own head sometimes and need it. Happy Memorial Day! :)

Ann Finkelstein said...

I agree! The common advice is to set the stage with normalcy then have something go wrong. I’ve seen graphs where the protagonist’s life/emotions are supposed to improve for the first third of the novel. The problem is that’s boring. Isn’t it more interesting to meet the protagonist as she/he is trying to cope with a huge problem? Thanks, Beth. I may spin off a blog post of my own on this subject.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great song, great post, and great idea that love makes you strong. Excellent.

Nishant said...

This is a great post.
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