Songwriting

A New Year – How About Some New Verbs?

How’s this, for a New Year’s Resolution – elevate your lyrics by employing rich verbs?

Verby Derby Doooooo

First draft lyrics. You know the ones – we come up with a great idea of something to say, and write on paper the first phrases that capture the idea in words. Sometimes we later refer to these as the “placeholders” – the words holding a spot in line until the REAL word comes along and takes its rightful place. And… sometimes we forget to replace the placeholders…

It’s time to take a close look at our phrases and measure whether or not we’re really digging deep into emotion with rich, capable verbs.

We might easily find ourselves burdened with ho hum verbs. One possible line of lyric:

I’m getting tired of looking for answers

Not bad. It says something. But does it excite the imagination? Look for… no, HUNT for, the verbs that do more of the “heavy lifting” by exciting the imagination.

I’m growing tired of digging for answers

The power is in the verbs. A rich verb will excite your brain to visualize an action. Does “getting” do ANYTHING to excite your brain? How about “growing” as a replacement? Suddenly, you’re imagining things that grow, that actually transform from one state to another. Does “looking” excite anything in your brain? How about the replacement word “digging”? I’m picturing somebody with a shovel in their hands, or perhaps even on their knees digging with their bare hands, desperate to find the answers they seek.

Give it a try. Use a thesaurus to link one verb to others that might be a great replacement. Don’t stop until you’ve saved your lyric from the mundane weight of boring verbs.


If you like what you read above, maybe you'd like to work with Allister at Tilted White Shed? Reach out through the Contact Us page.

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