Here’s a tip based on breaking the ‘rules.’ One approach to songwriting is to ask yourself ‘what does the song need. ‘Many times, when songwriters ask this question of themselves, they find that the standard pop song format fails them at first pass. Then, after many revisions and rewrites, they end up with a structure that is more accessible to the listeners. Here’s what it all boils down to: if a listener comments on your structure, you have failed at your job. As a songwriter you write good songs, not good structures.