Writing Non-Fiction posted December 6, 2017


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Finding inspiration for your lyrics

Themes - The Backbone of Good Lyrics

by Brett Matthew West


(I know my postings may not appeal to the widest number of FanStorians. I am not concerned about that. I have come to realize on this site it is much better to post for like-minded members, and that is what I now do.

Songwriting is my first love in writing, and this is the newest article I have penned for the Lyrics Make The Song Club that I lead. If you are not a member of this group you are cordially invited to join us. For those who may not know how to join us all you have to do is go to Community in the toolbar, scroll down to Clubs, and we are on the top of the list.

Here, members can share their lyrics, completed songs, and information for other members. But, no downloaded songs belonging to anyone other than the member who downloaded the song are allowed. Additionally, if you simply desire to learn more about songwriting this is the club for you.)

Lyricists spend a lot of time waiting for inspiration or an idea that will launch them into penning their next lyric. Occasionally, life hands them these notions on a silver platter. Most of the time it refuses to. So, how does a lyricist discover their next theme?

Remember, the theme is the backbone of the lyric, the link that holds the song together. Themes that tend to appeal to listeners include life, family, friends and love. The question becomes where does a lyricist discover these themes?

Have you ever noticed many lyrics use the same themes as popular movies and television programs, especially where relationships and emotions are concerned? When watching a movie or the TV ask yourself questions such as what character can you identify with? What is that character feeling? And, what is the relationship between the characters? These types of questions tend to appeal to many listeners.

Another good source lyricists can utilize for locating themes are real life dramas reported in news stories. These tend to be joyful, dark, scary and inspirational. What a lyricist tends to filter out of these accounts is the emotion behind the story and why the character did what they did?

A classic example of this filtering process is Lee Brice's country song "I Drive Your Truck". Did you realize that lyric is the result of a real life news interview with the father of a solder killed in Iraq?

While lyricists may desire to write about themselves, from a very self-oriented point of view, they will be much better served to think outside the box. Although these types of lyrics can be very important to the lyricist, to reach a much wider audience, universal themes allow listeners to hear and relate to feelings they can identify with. That's where the most powerful songs garner their success.

So, the next time you want to write a new lyric, try placing yourself in the shoes of a character in a movie or a news story. Once there, attempt to capture their feelings, or what took place, or maybe even how they dealt with that situation. You may be surprised at the quality lyric you write.

(If you have the interest, the newest edition of my Lyrics Make The Song Contest for December 2017 is now in full swing, with one slight twist from how I normally sponsor this contest. In keeping with the Christmas season, all entries for December's edition of this contest must be either a secular or a religious lyric. Enjoy!)



G is for GUITARS, by SCHATZLING, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks SCHATZLING, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by SCHATZLING at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2018. Brett Matthew West All rights reserved.
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