Prodigious Pointers for Parody Panache
Written by: BingoTook
Song parodies are guaranteed fun for the writer and the reader, but they can be tricky to get the hang of. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you out and make your song sparkle!
1. Selection. No one will get the joke (or likely even bother to read your parody) if they don’t know the tune, so don’t choose anything too obscure. And it’s hard to re-write a song that you yourself don’t really know, so choose something that you’re familiar with. If you don’t know the title or artist of a song you’re parodying, just type a few of the lyrics into a search engine, and it should pop right up.
2. Rhythm. Make your lines fit the tune of the original song. Count syllables, and make sure that it fits. Awkward rhythm will only confuse and throw off your reader.
3. Rhyme. Make your lyrics rhyme in the same places as in the original song. Rhyme where the song rhymes, and don’t where it doesn’t, including internal rhyme if you can. You can also use approximated rhyme in a pinch, using words whose sounds don’t match exactly, but are close. It’s also cool to try and use words with similar sounds to the original lyrics.
4. Content. It’s not a parody if you don’t change the lyrics, and that means more than inserting a character’s name every couple of lines. Be creative. With Tolkien, there’s lots of material to work from, but it works best if your song sticks to one idea throughout. Try keeping the book or the movie next to you as you write, to provide you with inspiration. Don’t be too serious, though! You can throw in quotes from the book or film, or add inside jokes from behind the scenes, or any of the running jokes among the fans. It helps, though, if you try to stick to the format of the song. It doesn’t need to be a perfect parallel to the original lyrics, but it both adds extra humor count and helps your reader follow if you come close, without just ripping off what’s already there. After you have your song written, double-check it if you can, by playing a recording of the original song, and reading your lyrics along with it. This will help ensure that your song’s rhythm is right, and that you didn’t accidentally forget any verses.
5. Presentation. Dress to impress. Instead of typing your song directly into the text box on the submissions page, type your song first in Word, or a similar program, then copy and paste into the box. Double and triple check your spelling and grammar. Take care of little things like getting “to” and “too” ‘s and “its” and “it’s” ‘s straight and making sure you have character and place names spelled correctly. Also make sure that you’ve capitalized character and place names, and the beginning of every line. Make sure to split lines and stanzas at the proper places. Always, always, submit a complete song. If you have any typos, the admins will fix it before it’s put on display, but it’s nice to make their job easier and fix most of the grammar yourself.
6. Finally. Always submit only your own work. Plagiarism is not only just wrong, it’s a crime, also, and you will be caught.
Well, those are the tricks of the trade. Now turn on the radio, pick a song and get writing!