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Found 1 result

  1. DonnaMarilyn

    Writing Lyrics: Formula or Freefall?

    There’s been a flurry of activity on the March Lyrics Contest thread. With occasional digressions, the discussion centred on 1) whether the types of lyrics that win contests are formulaic, and 2) to what extent poetic devices (e.g. metaphors, etc.) play a role (or not). (For example, whether mainly poetic lyrics win the monthly contests.) A couple of posts from Neal K made me curious about the notion of a ‘winning’ formula, and whether, and to what extent and in which type of context – a particular 'formula' might appear to work optimally - in any kind of songwriting situation. With Neal’s permission, I’ve included excerpts below. Food for thought and discussion. I hope Musers will share here their own diverse approaches to writing lyrics. Any tips, tricks, or other magic you’d like us to know about? Or any experiences of writing something you thought was brilliant but others disagreed? Or that you thought was utterly bleh, but people loved it? For either situation, what do you think was the reason? Over to you guys. Donna ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Neal wrote: Having run a few of these contests over the years, I started to wonder just how easy it would be to win. So … I decided to enter each monthly contest with a lyric I wrote specifically for the contest. That meant, lyrics without writing music at the same time. None of those lyrics ever became songs... except for the one that came in dead last. …The year was 2014 and I entered 11 of the 12 contests. I came in first five times, second four times, fourth one time, and dead last one time. I'm not saying this to boast. Goodness knows I'm hardly a great lyric writer. The point is, it's not that hard to win this contest if you 1) can identify the formula; and 2) can write to the formula without worrying if the words will ever be set to music. … trust me, none of those lyrics were poetic or flowery. I don't have that in me. Here's the formula I followed in my 2014 experiment to win/place in the lyric contest: 1) Each lyric was story driven; 2) the story was easy to understand and to relate to; 3) they used imagery (show, don't tell); 4) there were no wasted words or forced rhymes; 5) they contained sympathetic characters that people could relate to and that I cared about; 6) each and every line had to work on its own; 6) each story had a resolution that was designed to elicit an emotion, be that happiness, sadness, joy, depression, etc. That, my friend, is the formula. I'm so confident that this works that I bet you I could coach you into placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a future lyric contest. ...................................................................................................
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