Music as a weapon - too silly an idea?
I’m at a bit of a crossroads with the novel I’m writing (hereafter referred to as WiP - short for ‘Work in Progress”). I had an idea for an alien race that I thought would be different. I built a plot point around that difference. Then I saw something similar in a movie … and I thought it was stupid.
What to do? What to do? Do I re-write the WiP to eliminate that plot point? Do I remove it entirely? Or is it OK?
Anyone who knows a writer knows that we’re very insecure about our writing, fragile, even. So what do we do when a plot point appears ridiculous? Panic. Stop writing. Have long breaks while we try to understand how we got into this terrible dilemma.
Or maybe we ask for help.
For comparison, let’s look at both what I had envisioned and what I saw that worried me.
In my WiP, there’s an antagonistic species that is very militaristic. Each member of the species has its own theme music indicating family, military rank, and seniority in each. Whenever two or more are together, the more powerful one’s music plays, indicating dominance.
After an initial confrontation that goes fatally wrong for our humans, the second confrontation includes a scene where we are able to play our music over theirs, insulting their commander, and basically declaring war (at least letting them know that we haven’t surrendered to our fate). Note that this closes out the first act (first third) of the novel, it’s not the end.
What I saw that makes me hesitant to use this idea is Star Trek Beyond in which the crew of the Franklin uses a Beastie Boys song to destroy an enemy fleet. I may have even shouted “what a load of crap!” when I saw that. But later, at night, I couldn’t sleep because I fear that my reaction to that inane plot point would be other’s reaction to my plot point. Its it silly?
I’ve tried a few other scenarios to get the same resulting action, but basically the music is too baked into the story now to easily be removed, and the consequences of the human’s actions drive the second act -- removing the use of music is not just a minor edit. I’m slowly coming around to believe that I have to go forward with this, even if it isn’t ideal.