by Jodi Krangle (The Muse's Muse)
This has got to be the mother of "how-to's". Chock full of information and exercises for inspiration from start to finish, Pat takes the tough part of songwriting - the structure - and makes it seem simple.
How many of us have forgotten how to use metaphor? How many of us have lost our creative "spark" simply because we've let it sit idle too long? One of the very first exercises in the book, something Pat calls "Object Writing" is designed specifically to get your muse talking to you again. I've tried it myself. If it can work on me, it can work on anyone, believe me.
And there's lots more where that came from. Some chapter names include "Travelogues: Verse Continuity" (how many of us have started a song and then simply forgotten where it was going?? Continuity is important and a relationship that goes beyond the pairing with a repeated refrain or chorus or what have you, is essential to a well written song. The true test comes when you look at your verses without the benefit of the chorus or refrain. Do they still hang together? Make sense?), "Point of View: Second Person as Narrative" (When to use "you" instead of "I" or "we" in your narrative - something I'd never really given much thought to, but was greatly impressed to see outlined here in a clear and concise manner - the way Pat narrates all of his chapters.) & "The Great Balancing Act" (using "balanced" and "unbalanced" lyrics to keep your listener hooked from start to finish). There is so much in here that it would be absolutely impossible for me to outline it all.
Pat's unique voice sticks out - his way of thinking seems so different from any I've come across before and yet all his words really strike home. They make me think about my song writing in a way I never thought about it before - as a process that really does have some sort of cohesive structure, whether I choose to acknowledge that or not.
After having read this book, I can see that not acknowledging it would be awfully silly. Why not try to write the best song I can write? This book will certainly help you do just that. In fact, I would go farther than that and say that this book is a must have in any songwriter's library. As a reference, you'll find Writing Better Lyrics a very helpful tool. As a cattle prod to your usually lazy "inner writer", you'll find it invaluable.
Writing Better Lyrics - Book Review