Write Away Magazine - Issue No1

writeawaymagazine

The brand new Lyric Writers magazine.

Wr te Away

Issue No: 1 | January 2019

The Lyric Writers Magazine

The Working Class Hero

How John Lennon became one of the

Most legendary songwriters of all time

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Write Away

In This Issue

Wr te Away

The Lyric Writers Magazine

Issue No: 1 | January 2019

The Working Class Hero

How John Lennon became one of the

Most legendary songwriters of all time

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

Features

10.

12.

14.

15.

Working Class Hero

John Lennon

Jimmy Travis Band

Featured Band

Mike West

Honesty is the best

policy

Trevor Dimoff

Lyric Writing Tips

Regulars

04.

Jane on Lyrics

Understanding song

structures

08.

Daryn Wright

Let Me Bleed

18.

Pilgrim Child

Matchmakers

The perfect lyric

match

Editor: Jane Shields

Design: Pablo Snow

SBT Media

All material subject to

copyright. All rights reserved

Ben Robinson

17

| 02 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Welcome to Write Away

A Word From The Editor...

Hi, and welcome to the very

first issue of Write Away

Magazine. Let me begin by

telling you a little bit about

the motivation that led me

to put this magazine together.

Firstly, I’m a lyricist. But unlike

most lyricists out there,

I’m not a musician, I don’t

play any instruments at all,

and I absolutely cannot

sing. So, you may be asking

yourself, how on earth

did I ever think I would be

able to write a lyric that

someone else could use to

add music to and transform

it into a song?

Well, I admit it wasn’t at all

easy, it took a lot of frustrated

attempts from me

and sent me onto a steep

learning curve as I listened

to advice gleaned from online

songwriting sites, offered

by seasoned

musicians and lyricists, and

after about three months I

finally twigged and realised

the difference between the

poetry I had been writing

and the formatting structure

and metering required to

turn my own poems into

something which a skilled

musician might be able to

add music to for it to become

a song.

This was a huge step in my

journey to becoming a lyricist

whom musicians might

want to work with, and it’s

so important to realise the

differences between poetry

and lyrics.

The next step of my journey

was to begin studying

rhyme structures. Having

only begun writing poetry in

mid 2016 and embarking

on lyric writing the end of

the same year, I was fairly

naive to the many different

forms of rhyme available to

me, but on reading through

lyrics of well known songs I

discovered things such as

internal rhyme, which I now

use on occassion, and also

the use of near rhymes

which are used a lot by

songwriters. There are in

fact many different type of

rhyme that work extremely

well in song lyrics.

Whilst reading well known

lyrics I also noticed that

there were distinct layout

patterns for different styles

of songs, so I then experimented

by trying out many

of them, some with more

success than others I

hasten to add, possibly because

of my lack of musical

understanding or ability.

But most I realised were

manageable for me to be

able to produce a lyric to

the particular music genre.

I’ve learned a lot over the

past year or so about the

craft of lyric writing, and

now I find I can confidently

write a good lyric reasonably

fast. (Some in ten to fifteen

minutes)

Since I write as therapy for

myself, I’ve developed a

huge passion for writing

lyrics, and the purpose behind

this magazine is to

pass on the many tips I

have learned for myself,

and also to try to delve into

the way other musicians

and artists go about their

own lyric writing process.

My aim is to produce some

fascinating reading material

for those who are interested

in how song lyrics are

developed, and to help

those just starting out in the

songwriting industry to

understand how to write the

best possible lyrics they

can.

It takes practise and dedication,

but within a

relatively short time it’s

possible to vastly improve

your own lyric writing ability,

and to begin to write

songs that people can and

will relate to. After all, isn’t

that what songwriting is all

about?.........

Jane Shields

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 03 |


Write Away

Understanding Song Structures

To write song lyrics successfully, you need

to understand the function of different parts

of a song. There are several sections that

turn your lyrics into a song. Your song

might include all of them, or one of them. It

really all depends on you. There are standard

layouts of these parts that are used in

most songs however, so in order to understand

how most songs sound, you'll need

to understand the parts. They include:

Introduction - this is the section at the beginning

which leads into the song. Sometimes

it might sound different from the rest

of the song, might be faster or slower, or it

might not even exist at all. Many songs do

not have an introduction, so you don't need

to feel like you have to use it, but it’s an option

you might like to experiment with.

Verse - This is the main part of the song. It

is usually between fifty percent to twice the

number of lines as the chorus, but it does

not have to be. What gives away a section

of a song as a verse is that the melody is

the same, but the lyrics are entirely different

between every additional verse.

used repeatedly throughout a chorus

Post-Chorus - A less common, semi-independent

section that appears after the

Chorus. It serves as a link back to the

verse. A post-chorus differs both musically

and lyrically from the verse, the pre-chorus

and the chorus, but nearly always appears

in conjunction with the Verse. On occasion

a post-chorus may also double as a lyrical

and musical intro and/or outro. Using the

lyrical post chorus is also optional.

Bridge - The bridge is a part that exists in

some songs, but not in all. Usually

coming sometime after the second chorus,

the bridge is a part of the song that sounds

completely different than the rest of it. It is

usually short, just a few lines of lyrics, and

will sometimes lead into a key change. It

can be as long as you need it to be, it does

not have to be short.

Pre-Chorus - Within a verse, there may

also be a pre-chorus, which is a two or four

line section, rarely exceeding four bars

musically, immediately preceeding the

chorus. It is crafted to propel the listener,

both melodically and lyrically, into the

chorus. The pre-chorus is also optional, but

well worth considering when you are constructing

your song lyric.

Chorus - The chorus is the part of the song

that repeats without changing: both the

lyrics and melody are unchanged or almost

unchanged. This is usually where you try

to fit the catchiest part of your song, the

hook. The hook is a word or phrase often

| 04 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Lyric Writing Tips

Practice. Just like any other creative process

such as playing guitar or programming

synth sounds, lyric-writing is a skill

that can be learnt and improved upon.

Don't be disheartened if your lyrics aren't

perfect on the first draft. Many professional

writers will rewrite a song's lyrics dozens of

times before they make it onto record.

Persevere. More often than not, lyrics

aren't born, they're created and sculpted.

Don't expect a lyric to arrive fully formed;

they sometimes take time and you'll need

to work at it.

If you can't quite figure out how to say

what you want within a particular line, jot

down the gist of it and move on to another

part of the song - you can come back to it

later. That way, you won't spend hours

wrestling with one small line that might turn

out to be insignificant in the wider context

of the song.

Jane on Lyrics

Use perspective. For example, a classic

songwriting trick is to describe an event in

the first verse, and add perspective by describing

how it affected you or made you

feel in the second verse. Another viewpoint

can put an interesting spin on an otherwise

straightforward point.

Choruses require a different approach to

verses, especially if you're writing pop.

They often need to be more 'plain' and

easy to remember. A common trick is to

write the 'setup' during the verse, and the

emotional 'payoff' in the chorus.

Experiment with rhythm within a line. A

line can have its own rhythmic bounce or

flair and still fit in within the overall rhyming

scheme.

Use light and shade. Contrasting the

happy and positive with the sad and downbeat

within a song can be very powerful.

Context is everything: a joyous chorus after

a more solemn verse can make the chorus

even more uplifting.

Try to have a clear idea of what the song

is about. You should be able to sum up the

essence of the song in one sentence.

Analyse other songs. Try to pick out the

differences in lyrics between your favourite

songs and your own, and apply any lyrical

techniques you learn to your own work.

Make sure the song has a clear structure

and progression. This is particularly important

in narrative songs (songs that tell a

story). A quick test is to read the finished

song through from start to finish, asking

yourself "does this make sense?"

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 05 |


Write Away

The Effective Use Of Poetic

Devices In Song Lyrics

In order to construct a really good song

lyric. you’ll need to be able to paint a vivid

picture inside the listener’s mind that compels

him/her to continue listening to your

story line until the very end. There are so

many different tips you can successfully

borrow from the world of poetry to help you

achieve this goal.

Aliteration - the occurrence of the

same letter or sound at the beginning of

adjacent or closely connected words

Let It Be by The Beatles – ‘Whispered

words of wisdom, let it be’

The three W’s repeated at the start of the

lyrics add to the tone of the overall song.

They act to set up those all-important

words of wisdom that lend to the song’s

title.

Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell –

‘They paved paradise and put up a parking

lot’.

The hard ‘p’ sound makes it sound as if she

is spitting and angry at those who took

paradise away.

So Sick by Ne-Yo – ‘Said I’m so sick of

love songs so sad and slow’

The ‘s’ sound allows Ne-Yo to seamlessly

and effortlessly glide through the words.

Simile – two objects directly compared

sharing a similar feature, normally using

linking words ‘as’ or ‘like’ to connect them.

Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan –

‘How does it feel, To be without a home,

Like a complete unknown, Like a rolling

stone’

This was written about a woman who has

fallen from wealth to despair.

Bridge Over Troubled Water by

Simon & Garfunkel - ‘I’m on your side,

When times get rough, And friends just

can’t be found, Like a bridge over troubled

water, I will lay me down.’

This song uses a simile to describe an

emotional bridge when there are problems.

Like A Prayer by Madonna - ‘Like a

child you whisper softly to me, You’re in

control just like a child, Now I’m dancing,

It’s like a dream, no end and no beginning,

You’re here with me, it’s like a dream’.

This song combines religious language

and sexual imagery through a number

of similes within the lyric.

Metaphor - Two unrelated

words that can be successfully

used together to invoke an imaginative

image. If you are comparing

or portraying a person, action,

feeling, place or thing as being

something else then you are

using a metaphor.

I’m Already There by

Lonestar – ‘I’m the sunshine

in your hair, I’m the

shadow on the ground, I’m

the whisper in the wind, I’m

your imaginary friend’.

In this classic Lonestar sing to their

children whilst they are away on tour. The

|06 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Jane on Lyrics

band compare themselves to the daily

things their children would see to let them

know they will always be with them even

when they are away.

Hotel California by The Eagles –

‘Welcome to the hotel California, Such

a lovely place, Such a lovely face, They

livin’ it up at the hotel California, What a

nice surprise.’

In this song The Eagles compare the temporary

false nature of the glamour found

out West in Hollywood land to that of a

short stay in a hotel, so they have to make

the most out of it.

Firework by Katy Perry – ‘Cos baby

you’re a firework, Come on, show them

what you’re worth.’

Katy’s anthem of self-love is a great

example of metaphors and similes. The

main metaphor is that everyone is a firework;

special, unique and capable

of great things.

Hyperbole – An exaggeration

of ideas for the sake

of emphasis, for example you

might say ‘It’s been ages since

I last saw you’ when in reality

it was a few days ago.

Exaggeration is the one

literary tool which lends

an interesting twist

along with an element

of surprise to our language.

And besides, it's

just pure fun when we try

to go overboard with our

exaggerated exclamations;

for instance, ‘I'm so hungry, I

could eat a cow!’ or ‘This backpack

feels like a ton of bricks on me!’.

We know how one can't really eat an ‘entire’

cow, or that a ‘ton of bricks’ is just too

much for one person to actually lift.

To The Moon And Back by Savage

Garden – ‘I would fly to the moon and

back, if you’ll be..., If you’ll be my baby, Got

a ticket for a world where we belong, So

would you be my baby?’

We all know how the moon offers an inhospitable

environment for humans, and it just

doesn't make sense for anyone to simply

‘fly to the moon and back’ to get someone

to profess their love to you. But then, celestial

bodies have held a special allure for

people in love ever since we can remember.

Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake

– ‘Now there’s just no chance, for you and

me, there’ll never be, (No chance you and

me), And don’t it make you sad about it,

Cry me a river, (Go on and just), Cry me a

river.’

Justin Timberlake admitted to having

written this song to mirror his breakup with

fellow pop star Britney Spears. Not only is

it physically impossible for someone to "cry

a river", but Britney had allegedly long

since moved on, and wasn't really moping

over Justin, if the grapevine was to be believed.

So Happy I Could Die by Lady Gaga

– ‘So happy I could die, Be your best friend,

Yeah, I’ll love you forever, Up in the clouds,

We’ll be higher than ever.’

It would be a shame if immense happiness

could really lead to death. One would

rather jump for joy, or do a spirited dance,

or even go cart wheeling. But dying out of

happiness?

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 07|


Write Away

Let Me Bleed

Daryn Wright

Hello readers, my name is Daryn Wright. I’ve

been writing songs nearly all my life, but writing

proper lyrics since 1998. I don’t write

every day because I have a life outside of

music that requires a lot of my attention. I get

my inspiration from all kinds of sources.

The song I am writing about today was inspired

by a communication between myself,

and someone who claimed to be separated

from her spouse. As time passed, I soon

learned about her lies, and determined she

was attempting to cheat on her husband with

me. She was beautiful on the outside, but

that made her ugly on the inside. She was

not separated from her husband and had no

intention to be. I knew I had to end it. I would

not want to be in her husbands’ shoes having

his wife sneak around with other men. If she

does that to him, she will do it to anyone.

She knew I was a singer and songwriter.

She wanted me to write a song inspired by

her. She called me her sun, her daylight, and

her drink of sparkling water. Using these

three things, combined with a need to end

any romantic intent, I had my song idea. I

decided to write the song by her inspiration,

in which she would later regret to read. I

used the song to end it.

I placed myself as those things she claimed

I was to her, and painted an image of what

she looked like, but also how she acted. Two

main ideas of who or what I am. Water and

the sun, which are clearly too much of a separation

to be in the same thought process. If

I was to use them both, I had to separate

each one into its own verse. I inflated my

feeling and reactions to her by exaggerating

myself as a tormented man, torn between her

wanting me and knowing I could never have

her.

I started with writing a few ideas to be included

in each verse, then based on that,

came up with the chorus. The chorus, with

the hook, was written with the intent to pass

along the full effect emotion of my exaggerated

torment. I then proceeded to add as

many ideas as possible for each verse.

Looking at my long list of material for each

verse, I picked out the things that stayed on

point, and added value to the verse. Without

being overly concerned with a syllable count,

I finished the first verse and proceeded to the

second. Now I had to be concerned with syllable

count, because the second verse must

match, or be very closely matched to the first

verse in order to keep the same pattern.

After the verses were written, I looked at it

closely and determined I still needed something

to say to wrap up the scenario. I had

not talked about why I was so tormented.

The bridge came to life with that new information,

and it completed the scene well.

I needed a vocal melody next. I started with

the chorus on this one, so that I could put myself

into a deep emotional state, then moved

onto the verses, and then the bridge. I found

my melody by drawing on the emotions the

lyrics dictated, and began by speaking the

words, working up to singing with more and

more emotion until I had a pattern and a melody

that made sense to me.

Now I needed to find some basic chords to

the song. I like the Nashville Number System.

By finding the starting chord, the remaining

chords can be assigned numbers in

up the scale, making the starting chord with

a value of 1, on a scale of 1 to 8. I noted the

locations of each basic chord on a lyric sheet.

Next comes the vision of the completed

song. Asking yourself what tempo the song

should have, the instruments involved, the

background sound of the music, and musical

emotional draw from the lyrics.

Anyone at this point could take the song to a

respectable recording studio and get the

| 08 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Daryn Wright

song recorded. Why try to write every note

of every instrument? Let the talents of your

professional musician come out while you

write the music through them.

I always file my music with the Library Of

Congress for copyright purposes.

Feel Free to visit my websites and listen to

some of my music.

Links to my music can be found at:

www.darynwright.com

You can listen to the full version of this song

for free at:

https://www.reverbnation.com/darynwright/so

ng/27182498-let-me-bleed.

Let Me Bleed

Sequence Of The Lyrics:

V1 (Verse 1) - CH (Chorus) - V2 - Repeat CH

- BR - Repeat CH - Outro

V1

I am a drop of water holding to your glass

Waiting for the moment you reach for me at

last

Pull me in close, press me to your lips

One special moment, one little kiss

You’re like a fire, you burn me to the core

You push me away like all the times before

I evaporate, get tossed to the wind

But soon I’ll be clinging to the bottle again

V2

Your skins like pedals decked out in gems of

dew

I am the sun and I only shine for you

Gaze all day without blinking an eye

In the heat of the moment you reach for the

sky

We almost touch when you close in for the

night

Like a morning glory flower on the vine

Exhausted in failure I fall down in defeat

But I’ll be back tomorrow once again to repeat

BR

I can’t resist you no matter how I try

I always find myself returning to your side

I try to be strong but you make me weak

It’s an endless circle this control you have on

me

OUTRO

Rip out my heart and let me bleed

Ah-ah-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-ooh

Let me bleed

Copyright and all rights reserved. No one

has permission to use these lyrics in part or

in whole without the express permission of

Daryn Wright. This magazine is hereby

granted permission to utilize these lyrics for

this article.

CH

Let me go, walk away and disappear

Let me drown in an ocean of tears

Let me fall out of this stormy sky

With nothing to keep our love alive

Baby the longer you’re in my life

The harder it will be to survive

Stop playing games with me baby

Rip out my heart and let me bleed

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 09|


Write Away

The Working Class Hero

A friend once asked John Lennon

“What is the best lyric you ever

wrote?” To which he replied “All

You Need Is Love.”

The Beatles , John Lennon,

Paul McCartney, George

Harrison and Ringo

Star shared an astonishing

twenty seven

number one hits in

the USA and UK

during their

time

together

starti

n g

out

i n

1962.

Of those

number

o n e s ,

twenty six

c a m e

from the

unique

collaboration

of Lennon

and

McCartney. John

Lennon penned seven on his

own and collaborated on a further five.

To this day Lennon and McCartney are

still considered the most successful songwriting

duo in musical history, and some of

their records still stand today.

Although many of the songs within the Lennon-McCartney

songbook were initially

penned by either one or the other separately,

they had decided around the age of

fifteen or sixteen to form a songwriting partnership

that would last until 1970. Despite

a falling out between the two artists, John

Lennon confirmed in one of his last interviews

that their intimate methodology was

to write songs “eyeball to eyeball.” The final

composition they collaborated on is appropriately

titled “The End”—the final track on

Abbey Road, written and recorded in 1969.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

topped the US and British charts, won four

Grammy awards in 1968 and the song is

ranked number 26 in Rolling Stone magazine's

list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All

Time.

The lyrics, which once belonged to the

Beatles' road manager Mal Evans, provide

a glimpse into the band's methods, with

Lennon noting where Paul McCartney

would insert his more upbeat verse. Lennon's

words appear to be inspired by newspaper

headlines and articles.

The song includes the words "He blew his

mind out in a car/He didn't notice that the

lights had changed", widely accepted to be

a reference to the accidental death in a car

crash of Lennon and McCartney's friend

Tara Browne.

On a lighter note, the final verse about "four

thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire"

was taken from a report on the high

number of potholes on the roads.

| 10 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


John Lennon

John began to record as a solo artist before

the band's break-up in April 1970; two of

those songs were "Give Peace a Chance"

and "Instant Karma!" John subsequently

produced albums that included John Lennon/Plastic

Ono Band and Imagine, and

songs such as "Working Class Hero", "Imagine"

and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".

After marrying Yoko Ono in 1969, he added

"Ono" as one of his middle names.

John revealed a rebellious nature and

acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings,

on film and in interviews. Controversial

through his political and peace activism, he

moved from London to Manhattan in 1971,

where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted

in a lengthy attempt by the Nixon administration

to deport him. Some of his

songs were then adopted as anthems by

the anti-war movement and the larger

counterculture.

John disengaged himself from the music

business in 1975 to raise his son Sean, but

re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the

album Double Fantasy. Tragically he was

shot and killed in the archway of his Manhattan

apartment building three weeks

after the album was released.

Albums By John Lennon

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - 1970

Imagine - 1971

Some Time In New York City - 1972

Mind Games - 1973

Walls And Bridges - 1974

Rock ‘N’ Roll - 1975

Shaved Fish - 1975

Double Fantasy - 1980 (With Yoko Ono)

Milk And Honey - 1984

Live In New York City - 1986

Soundtrack: Imagine - 1988

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 11 |


Write Away

g{x ]|ÅÅç g

The Jimmy Travis Band

(rock, country rock, soft

rock) began as group of

American expatriates living

in Berlin. You see, we discovered

that you could live

there from music alone.

I moved to London to work

on an album for Warner

Brothers. John Vaughan

was a U.S. Army brat who

grew up in Germany. Francis

Serafini is from Rhode

Island and I found him in a

Berlin club playing solo

gigs. Trevor Cooper is from

London and he agreed to

put together a duo for club

dates. Hansi is our

drummer, and the only

German member of our

group.

I loved playing with these

guys seeing how they were

some of the best songwriters

in Europe. Our life

style included sleeping until

5 pm and getting coffee.

Then we went to work writing

songs we could play in

the clubs that night.

Berlin was heaven for

musicians. We wrote songs

and played in the clubs,

usually three clubs a night.

We did TV and radio. We

toured western Europe out

of Berlin. But in the

end, I guess you

could say we did it

for the music and

the blondes. The

group's genres are

country, country

rock soft rock. Our

influences are Roy

Orbison, Crosby,

Stills & Nash, The

Byrds, The Everly

Brothers, Gene

Clark and The

Eagles.

| 12 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Ütä|á UtÇw

Jimmy Travis Band

Lyrics are the poetry of

your song. In good lyrics,

the essence of your

meaning will be found between

the lines. Writing a

good lyric is a bit like capturing

lightening in a

bottle.

Some well known songwriters

taught me to

choose my titles with care.

They taught me to choose

a title that carries a strong

visual image and the rest

of the text will then come

naturally.

Remember, your goal is to

entertain, and you need to

engage your audience.

The next thing to do is to

read your lyrics into a recorder.

You will notice the

weaker word choices immediately.

Next, I hand off the lyrics

to “the boys in the basement”.

( I sleep on it )

These 'boys' are my subconscious,

and are the

smartest part of me, but

they like to work in the

dark. So I sleep on it over

night.

When I worked with Elton

John, we began with the

verse of Bernie Taupin.

Working backwards was a

challenge but normally I

get the best creative flow

by singing and playing all

at once. Something about

hand-eye coordination I

suppose.

I can get the best text

when I treat the process

like speaking in my

mother tongue. John Lennon

once told me the best

trick for him was to take

the words as far as he

could, and then take a

nap. When he wrote ‘Nowhere

Man’ he

dozed of in a

nice warm

room, and

when he

awoke, “There

is was, the

whole damned

thing” He told

me “Creativity

remains a

beautiful mystery”.

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 13 |


Write Away

Mike West

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Mike West

Music: vocal or instrumental sounds

(or both) combined in such a way

as to produce beauty of form, harmony,

and expression of emotion.

It fittingly goes without saying that music

without lyrics can be powerfully emotive

and captivating but when a lyricist captures

that intangible thought that has been fluttering

behind your eyelids for as long as

you can remember, there are few other

feelings like it. I liken it to drinking not realising

how thirsty you were. Your mind and

body jolting into something you didn’t realise

you needed.

But as a songwriter or a lyricist how do you

capture those transcending words that will

connect you to a stranger? It’s simple

really. Be honest.

level of freedom to express themselves

outside of structures and rhythms of traditional

poetry and as a lyricist you too don’t

have to conform to these restraints. Be

honest and serve the words and song, not

the preconceptions you have.

Honesty and authenticity are a lyricist’s top

priorities and vital to make any song connect

with a listener. When you next put pen

to paper or finger to tablet, visualise what

you are truly trying to say at the heart of

your lyrics. If it is one word, or one page,

write what you want to express and then

write as honestly and as openly as you

can. You can embellish later.

Whether you are roaring at the helm of a

metal band, strumming through a folk set

or grooving to a hip-hop beat you can write

anything you want. As long as it’s honest.

Debates rage about if a band is good or not

but it all masks what people are really arguing.

Is it authentic? Is it true? Is it honest?

You can write as yourself, sitting in your

room and trying to make sense of your life

or you can write as a character, a crazed

mad man who shot a man just to watch him

die. Just believe what you are writing. It

doesn’t even have to rhyme.

Ever since poetic free verse was popularised

by greats such as Walt Whitman, it

has given poets and musicians another

| 14 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Lyric Writing Tips

Trevor Dimoff

How do I start writing

lyrics?

If lyric writing intrigues you

but you’re unsure how to

write them, here is one way

to write lyrics, which you

can customize to fit your

writing style.

Typically, I begin a song

from one of these three

starting points:

1. Inspiration

The idea for a song. This

can be a title, an interesting

turn of phrase, picture,

another song or other art

form (painting, movie)

2. Message

What do I want to say with

this song? It’s about love,

pain, politics?

3. Story

What’s the story in the

song? Who are the characters?

What’s the plot, the

setting? Explain the story of

the song in a few sentences.

Once I know what I want to

write about, I start writing

lyrics ideas...

Brainstorm words and

ideas

Brainstorming is my go to

technique for generating

lyric ideas: https://epicsongwriting.com/brainstorm/

Let the ideas flow without

judging them. Don’t try to

write from the beginning to

the end. Instead, write

down words and phrases.

Don’t try for complete lines

or try to rhyme yet.

Once you have more ideas

than you need, start editing.

Pick the best words and

phrases and consider

whether they might fit best

in the verse or chorus….

Find Rhythms

Let the rhythmic patterns

emerge from your lines instead

of forcing them. Lyricists

often write to the

rhythms of previous lines,

even when not conscious of

doing so.

Find Rhymes

Brainstorm perfect and imperfect

rhymes for keywords

that might fit at the

end of a line.

Rhyme Schemes

Choose a basic rhyme

scheme for the verse and

chorus… AABB, ABAB,

XAXA.

Chorus

The chorus summarizes

the message of the song.

Put the title in the chorus

and keep the lyrics simple

so people can sing along.

Verses

Write the story in the

verses. Use the same

rhyme scheme and similar

rhythmic patterns for each

verse, this makes it easier

to set them to a melody

later.

Basic Song Structure

There a few ways to organize

your song sections,

start with a simple version:

Verse 1, Chorus, Verse 2,

Chorus, Chorus.

Trevor Dimoff is a songwriter

and songwriting

coach. Learn how to work

on your

songs everyday at:

https://epicsongwriting.com

/

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 15 |


Write Away

Become A ‘Past

Master At Lyric

Writing

Ever spent hours staring forlornly

at a blank screen?

Generating ideas for lyrics is

often challenging. Consign

those frustrations to history

by, erm, reading up on history.

History – a rich source of

golden stories

Storytelling is a big part of

what lyric writers do, and history

is overflowing with fantastic

tales that are waiting to

be fashioned into musical

masterpieces.

Unearthing the past

Think of yourself as being

like an archaeologist. Archaeologists

carefully extract

buried items but what’s revealed

is often an incomplete

puzzle. Skill is then

applied to transform those

physical artefacts into a

plausible story.

As a lyric writer your job is to

tease out interesting details.

Perhaps it’s an angle that

hasn’t been explored before.

Or a fresh take on a wellknown

tale.

Case Study – Poor John

Druitt Everyone’s heard of

Jack the Ripper. His murder

spree shook London in 1888

and what’s made him such

an enduring enigma is that

his identity has never been

proven. That hasn’t stopped

sleuths (past and present)

from attempting to solve the

mystery. At the time, the police

implicated John Druitt

whose body had been

hauled from the River

Thames after the last of the

Ripper murders.

The more I read about Druitt,

the more his story seemed

like a police stitch up. There

was no hard evidence of guilt

and there appears to be evidence

that suggests it’s unlikely

that he could have

been at all the crime scenes.

Out of this I crafted a lyric

called Poor John Druitt.

Regular Kompoz collaborator

James Fraser then turned

it into a song and created a

YouTube video.

Focusing on an obscure

character from the Ripper

files hopefully creates a layer

of interest.

Tips to harness history as

a lyric writer

1. Get into the habit of buying

historical magazines and

Simon Wright

scanning news stories for interesting

insights into the

past.

2. Think through the known

historical facts and explore

any gaps that are still

shrouded in uncertainty. As

you work the story, an idea

will often emerge on how to

create a lyric that is interesting

and impactful.

3. Sieve through all the key

points you’ve collated to

shortlist those that are essential

and craft them into

your song’s structure. Fine

tune these through rounds of

editing.

About Simon Wright

Simon is an Irish lyric writer

who lives in Scotland. He

collaborates with musicians

across the world to turn his

lyrics into songs. Check out

his LyricSlinger website and

follow @TheLyricSlinger on

Twitter.

https://www.jack-theripper.org/

https://www.casebook.org/s

uspects/druitt.html

https://www.kompoz.com/m

usic/collaboration/840136/fil

e/840137

https://www.soundblend.co

m/store/release/842146

https://www.youtube.com/w

atch?v=4rqMC2I7Bb8

www.LyricSlinger.co.uk

| 16 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


Ben Robinson

Pilgrim Child is an approximately five minute

song featuring voice, guitar, violin, flute, bass

and percussion and was written, recorded and

produced by Ben Robinson in 2011/2012.

Licensed through Maori Publishing/Confidential

Records it is available at most online outlets

as both a single and within Real Illusions

LP. The official music video is available to the

view on youtube.

Going round and round, and round again

The opening line makes use of repetition to

highlight a sense of lostness in this first person

narrative as well as monotony more

clearly illustrated by line two, “Over the same

old ground/ The same old terrain”. A sense of

disorientation emerges, a dizziness from fruitless

endeavour and so it is no wonder that towards

the end of the first verse our

protagonist is practically faint from “intoxicating

thoughts/feeling drunk again”.

Pilgrim Child

Ben Robinson

Verse two develops the story in a noticeable

and interesting way. The introduction of

another character whom is said to both help

and hinder the narrator, “You have helped

me/also made it hard” alters the dynamic; the

solitary pilgrim so lost and unsure at first is

aided in his quest after all, just perhaps not in

the way imagined help is given…akin to the

fiery furnace. Fortified then as well as weary

on into the final verse.

“With each and every step/each mile/each

road”

Common throughout is the use of repetition to

empathise, more clearly illustrate and to lend

such a musicality to the message conveyed.

Pilgrim Child has “wandered long, on the

road/all alone” though not entirely without

companionship, and seemingly ends his journey

finally seeing the light.

www.robinsonofficial.co.uk

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pilgrimchild/1193112777?i=1193112825

www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk 17|


Write Away

New Feature

From February issue onwards

Matchmakers

Lyricists Seeking Musicians

Musicians Seeking Lyricists

Email: jane@writeawaymagazine.co.uk

Title your email lyricist if you are seeking a musician or musician if

you are seeking a lyricist.

Include your location, musical genre, and any other relevant preferences.

I will include as many requests as possible, each for one

issue only.

|18 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk


www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

19 |


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