I'd like to make one of the action scenes in my planned novel to involve a choreography to a medley of various real world songs, similar to the Ocean's Twelve Laser Dance scene(video below), obviously using a different situation. I'm currently undecided on what the situation will be, though given the book is intended to be absurdist comedy sci-fi it's probably going to be something weird, like Homer Simpson eating chips in the space shuttle.


The problem I have is that such scenes work well in movies and TV shows, because you got sound and visuals there that lines up perfectly through good editing, but I'm worried that in a novel, this is going to fizzle because reading is inherently sequential. You can't describe the music and the actions at the same time and make it come across in the same way as in a movie or TV show. And while I think you can work around that somewhat by saying what song the medley switches to and at what point it picks in, it's still going to interrupt the action. Also, if the reader isn't familiar with a particular song, they're going to be less able to interpret the scene properly.

Is there a way to make this type of scene work?

  • John M. Ford did something like this in the comical Star Trek novel ''How Much for Just the Planet?''. The crew meet people who occasionally sing about their situation, along with music that happens to be playing nearby. (Ford hoped we'd hear the music in our heads, since it was well-known -- such as the theme from "Rawhide" -- but which he could not legally identify). Nov 27, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


This is a rather interesting question you got there. I myself have never attempted something like this, mostly because i was pretty certain I would mess it up.

I would maybe try a few different way to see what you think sounds/looks/feels/is the best for your situation. I think your best bet would probably be to put the song lyrics in italics or parentheses or something to separate it from the rest of the story. After each action, put the lyrics in that would accompany it. Once you have the general thing planned out, play around with the words a bit to try and find a really good rhythm for everything. Here's a short example I just made up;

I rolled under the table and came up in a kneeling position, shooting both guards quickly. another on bites the dust. I whirled around and fired another shot at the guard pretending to be dead. another one bites the dust. With the immediate threat gone, I tossed a grenade into the closed room and waited. and another ones gone and another ones gone and another on bites the dust

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