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Lyric writing: Destination/Object writing and Internal/External structure

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Dazzathedrummer

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« on: July 11, 2020, 05:04:45 PM »
Hi,
I’ve been reading books by Andre Stolpe and Pat Pattison on lyric writing.

Pat Pattison introduces the idea of object writing whereby he encourages 10min bursts of free writing (not lyrics, just story or description) around a key word (the object) that must include descriptions of the senses.
Andre Stolpe takes this slightly further by allowing the key word to be a place or time or person.
The writing is then used to form lists of interesting words and phrases that are then classified as being either ‘Internal’ (a thought) or ‘external’ (describing the world around us) - rhyming pairs are also highlighted.

Where we already know about line length and rhyming patterns, Stolpe also adds ‘toggling’ patterns of internal and external lines claiming that the external lines connect the listener to the story and the internal lines add emotion.
For verses she suggests more external lines (E, E, E, I or E, E, I) and chorus more internal lines.

I’ve got to say that this has transformed my writing - I had been struggling until I found these ideas.
I would literally sit with a blank piece of paper and try to write a complete song from start to finish and usually get an ok-ish first verse but struggle with the rest and I’ve currently got loads of unfinished pieces that all started from a great idea (IMHO) but have never been finished.
I find the object/destination writing very freeing as there’s no obligation to use any of it plus rhyming and order don’t matter at all.

I just wondered if anyone else has used these methods or if you’ve not heard of them before do you think it would be useful?


Boydie

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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2020, 06:58:24 PM »
These are great approaches that extend the “show, don’t tell” concept and that the whole point of a song is often to convey emotion

I did pick up on this part of your post:

Quote
...and usually get an ok-ish first verse but struggle with the rest and I’ve currently got loads of unfinished pieces that all started from a great idea (IMHO) but have never been finished.

My suggestion would be to use the  “first verse” you have written as your SECOND verse - and use your NEW first verse to properly introduce any characters, concepts that were in your original first verse (which is now your second verse)

This often allows you to add some “depth” and emotion to your song - eg if a character in your song is sad, this allows you to SHOW why they are sad

I think ombining this with the Internal and External approach would be very powerful
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Dazzathedrummer

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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2020, 07:45:30 PM »

I did pick up on this part of your post:

Quote
...and usually get an ok-ish first verse but struggle with the rest and I’ve currently got loads of unfinished pieces that all started from a great idea (IMHO) but have never been finished.

My suggestion would be to use the  “first verse” you have written as your SECOND verse - and use your NEW first verse to properly introduce any characters, concepts that were in your original first verse (which is now your second verse)

This often allows you to add some “depth” and emotion to your song - eg if a character in your song is sad, this allows you to SHOW why they are sad

I think ombining this with the Internal and External approach would be very powerful

This particular problem has gone now thanks to the object writing - I can simply object write for verse 1, object write for verse 2 etc etc.

It really has transformed my writing ability!

Sterix

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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 06:11:53 AM »
Personally I've never found the need to delve into the mechanics of writing lyrics - I just write when the mood takes me and if it comes, it comes (and usually without too much effort). If it doesn't then I just put it aside and maybe come back at it another time to finish it off.

As (most) people on this forum know by now, I'm not a huge fan of rules when it comes to writing - I feel it can stifle creativity (at least for me) more than help it. Not that I don't occasionally lock myself into a set pattern or structure - I just find myself, more often than not, breaking it, and realising I've got better lyrics for it than if I'd have tried to retain conformity.

I know what you mean about unfinished lyrics though. I've probably got a few hundred lying around (and a number of them probably actually quite good or good ideas I'd like to revisit at some stage). I suppose at the volume that I write it's not such a big thing to me, though, not finishing some lyrics.

My favourite songwriter is Tuomas Holopeinen (of Nightwish). If you ever read any of his lyrics or heard any of his songs you'll realise that (a) the structure is whatever the hell takes his fancy and to hell with the rules, (b) half of it doesn't rhyme or even come close to rhyming, and (c) when you listento his songs you realise none of that actually matters because they end up working. Basically, he'd rather make the music fit the words than the other way around!
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Dazzathedrummer

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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 10:28:21 PM »
Personally I've never found the need to delve into the mechanics of writing lyrics - I just write when the mood takes me and if it comes, it comes (and usually without too much effort). If it doesn't then I just put it aside and maybe come back at it another time to finish it off.

As (most) people on this forum know by now, I'm not a huge fan of rules when it comes to writing - I feel it can stifle creativity (at least for me) more than help it. Not that I don't occasionally lock myself into a set pattern or structure - I just find myself, more often than not, breaking it, and realising I've got better lyrics for it than if I'd have tried to retain conformity.

I know what you mean about unfinished lyrics though. I've probably got a few hundred lying around (and a number of them probably actually quite good or good ideas I'd like to revisit at some stage). I suppose at the volume that I write it's not such a big thing to me, though, not finishing some lyrics.

My favourite songwriter is Tuomas Holopeinen (of Nightwish). If you ever read any of his lyrics or heard any of his songs you'll realise that (a) the structure is whatever the hell takes his fancy and to hell with the rules, (b) half of it doesn't rhyme or even come close to rhyming, and (c) when you listento his songs you realise none of that actually matters because they end up working. Basically, he'd rather make the music fit the words than the other way around!

Yeah - it's great if you don't need any extra help, for me personally, I didn't get a great grade in English when I was at school so a lot of the theory side to words needed a little more study. With the 'object' writing approach I can write a huge pile of nonsense and then create a song from that, using it like a programmer uses a data dictionary.

Pat Pattison's techniques for re-writing certainly have helped me.
I found that if I did write a song start-to-finish it would be full of cliche and perfect rhyme and I'd look back at it and know that it wasn't strong enough, but not really know why or know how to fix it.

I think I've heard of Nightwish (are they Prog?), not heard any though - I'll check it out - it might be fun to analyse a song on here!