A bit back, I told you about my science songs project. It’s my latest work for hire assignment, and it sounds like a lot of fun. All I had at that point was the general assignment–no topics or songs yet.
But last week, I received my series guidelines and my four topics. I can’t share the topics, because I’m not sure how confidential I’m supposed to be, and I’d better err on the side of caution. But to share a little bit of my work so far on the project, I thought I’d choose a made-up topic and share my process.
So, my made-up topic is why we need the sun. Everytime I say why we need the sun, you’ll know I’m really talking about a different super secret subject for my book. It’s like I’m a science song spy:>)
Monday, I sat down and looked over the four topics. The publisher gave me a basic list of facts for three of the four topics. I said that wrong. Actually, the fact lists were really the curriculum standards that these books will support. So, I started a Word folder for each of the four projects, and within those, a file for each called Facts. I pasted the listing of standards/facts into each file.
That’s as far as I got on Monday. What can I say? The kids were out of school, and I had a million other things on my to-do list also. I tend to work on projects in small chunks. A half-hour or hour at a time. That’s why I like to have lots of different things going on.
Anyway, yesterday, I chose one of the four books to start with. We’ll call it why we need the sun. So I read over the list of facts a few times. Then I made a listing of key words that might be included in this K-2 song.
Then I started working on lists of rhyming words for each word that might be workable in some way into the book. Some words, like “light,” naturally had plenty of good rhymes: “sight, night, bright, white, ignite, excite, delight.”
Others like animals, had shorter lists. As in, no rhyming words.
But that’s ok. Those were words I would just have to use internally in lines, not at the end of lines that had to rhyme with each other.
Next, I picked a basic structure. I decided that I’d have four sections to the song. One for plants, one for animals, one for people, and one for the Earth itself. And then a little summary.
I wanted a kind of refrain, and “This is why we need the sun” popped into my head as I was reading my possible song list and saw The A-B-C Song on it. I could just hear the ending, “Now my little song is done. You know why we need the sun.”
OK, that’s lame, but I don’t have all day to work on this post of a made-up topic:>)
Then I went through the entire song, splitting the rest into four sections and seeing what information I could fit into each section while keeping the rhyme and meter of The A-B-C Song.
It was fun, but hard work! Balancing the need for content with the need to keep the poetic scan right, all in very few words (between 85 and 200, generally) was tough! There will be sidebars, too, though. So as I was writing, I was making notes by some of the facts that they would have to go into sidebars. I also highlighted facts as I used them so that I’d know at a glance how much content I was using.
And on my document with the actual song (separate from my facts file), I also highlighted the words from my word rhymes list so that I would know which ones had been used.
I ended up with a decent first draft of a song, which was more than I had thought I would get done. But we’ll see how it sounds in a week. When you’re singing a song, you can force a meter that isn’t natural, and I’m really trying not to do that!
So that’s my latest update on Science Songs! Hope you’re having fun with your own writing projects!
Reminder: I have two online poetry classes open for registration right now.