Songwriting Process For Writing Song Lyrics Guide

Writing Song Lyrics Guide SignpostSongwriting is a craft. To be good at the songwriting process the songwriter must nurture the skills required. There are several steps in the process of writing songs. Apply each of these to you process. Here is a writing song lyrics guide to help you through the songwriting process.

Start with an Idea

Every song has a genesis. The genesis reveals itself as an idea. Your job as a songwriter is to work with those ideas to create a song lyrics and melody. Ideas can come from anywhere. All you need to be is attentive to the things around you. Use your senses to discover the world around you. Use you eyes to see things happening around you. Listen to the activities that are happening to come up with ideas. As you become aware of the wealth of ideas it is important that you have a way to capture those ideas. Write them down in a journal. You can also dictate them into a record device. Most important is to have a way to retrieve these ideas.

Create a Storyline Plot

In your writing session bring out your ideas. Glean thought them to find interesting situation. You may even be able to combine several ideas into one new concept. Once you select an idea. Turn it into a topic for your songs. Take this topic and turn it into a story. A story is crucial for a song. Develop the story into a plot. The storyline plot is a sequence of events that make up a story line. The plot is simply one or two sentences that sum up the idea.  Use the plot as a framework for the song lyrics.

For your reference here are seven universal story plots

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches
  • Voyage and Return
  • The Quest
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Build Character’s Identity

A song without characters does not work. Every song will have interaction and relationship with people. With your plot defined, your next task is to come up with the characters. You need to create a detailed description of these people. Know who they are, what they do, how they act. Create an image of them.  Here are seven “Types” of Characters

  • Flat Characters – non changing minor person
  • Static Characters – Someone who does not change
  • Round Characters – multi-dimensional and complex
  • Dynamic Characters – undergo some kind of change
  • Stock Characters – Sterotypes
  • Protagonist – “main” character mostly the good guy
  • Antagonists – the bad guy

Write to a Melody

Having a melody early in the songwriting process is very beneficial. Some lyricists believe that it is to constricting to start with a melody. But with some practice it will become easier. If you have the melody first you will have the basic structure for the lyric already laid out for you. You will know how many lines per song section. You will know how many syllables belong in each line. A strong song will have a melody that can stand on its own.  Then next thing you will want to do is get s song title.

Write a Title for the Song

The title is one of the most important elements of the song. The title is what your listeners will use to purchase your song. Getting it right is paramount to the success of the song. Using the ideas, plot and character development come up with a catchy song title. You need to come up with a title that will embed in the mind of the listener. The title needs to accomplish several things. It needs to set the tone of the song, sum up the story. and be simple and short.

Expand Song Title to Chorus

Once you decide on a title the next task is to write the song chorus. The chorus function is to provide a summary of the verses. Both the melody and words remain the same each time the chorus comes around. Using the title expand on it to create the chorus. Avoid including details in this section. Remember the chorus sums up and supports the verses. In most songs the hook is found in the chorus and the hook is also linked to the song title.

Write Verse and Bridge pointing to Chorus

Using the song title as a focus point, the next step in the lyric songwriting process is to write the verses and bridge. These sections of the song provide the details. This is where the songwriter needs to develop the storyline plot. The story will move thought time. There will be a starting point. The starting point is where something happens to the main character of the song. Usually it is some kind of conflict. This starting point will be followed by a series of events that will come to some kind of resolution.

Determine a Rhyming Scheme

As you are writing the song lyrics you will want to come up with a rhyming scheme. This is a pattern of rhymes where words sound alike will fall in specific location in the song lyrics. The use of rhyme is what gives appeal to the words. People love the sound of rhymes. Since the music is already written it can be a lot easier to create a rhyming scheme. That is because you will know how many lines are available.

Write a Chord Progression

Once you have a good ideas of how your song is developing you need to add a chord progression.  A chord progression is a series of chords played in sequence.  The harmony of the chord progression needs to follow the melody line. The choice of chords will help provide a mood and feel for the song.

Putting It All Together: Writing Song Lyrics Guide

Although the information in this article is presented in a sequential fashion; you don’t always need to follow it. The songwriting process presented here will help you writer better songs It is possible to deviate from the order. Actually you may find that once you have a title that you will want to revise the character descriptions. Or you may need to modify the melody to better fit the lyric. The process of songwriting is somewhat organic in that each part is intertwined with another part. Every rewrite will cause the song to evolve. There are many other factors that go into writing a song. The ones presented here will give you a springboard to start writing and composing songs.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Here’s one of the ‘usual and customary’ methods for dividing the credits. This system is known as the Nashville method, so named for the way that it is done in Nashville. According to this method, everyone who is in the room actively involved in writing the song gets an equal share of the writer’s credit. The thinking behind this is akin to the law of natural selection, e.g., if someone isn’t pulling his/her weight, they will not be invited to the next session. ,