Can words have sex? Do certain words have an affinity for other words - maybe even like or dislike other words? Perhaps they would join together to create moods… without you having to necessarily be the writer. I mean even electrons - protons - neutrons are attracted to and repulsed by each other. This is a universal law.
What if this way of thinking leads to another perspective on writing lyrics. A method by which you are the “organizer” of groups of words instead of waiting for the creative muse to land on your shoulder and “inspire” you. Ordering yourself to sit down and… now become profound and pen great lyrics is very difficult. Unless you are suicidal of course.
So how can you set up a condition by which words are attracted to each other? Mood - Tempo - Vowel/Consonant ratios for starters. When writing, first decide on the mood. It could be edgy, dark, happy, painful or…? If no mood gets you going begin looking through your Thesaurus. That’s right, forget dictionaries. There is a good reason a Thesaurus is known as the Treasury. The words in a Thesaurus are arranged in sets of opposites so if similarity or contrast is needed it’s all right at your fingertips.
Flip the pages until a word grabs your attention. Write it down. All words express a mood so there is your start. Now simply make a list of any words you see that have a similar mood to the first one you chose. Create a collection or words that reenforce a similar mood to your first choice.
Do words have tempo? Yes, by the number of syllables and where you place the accents. Take the word wonderful… there are three syllables Won - Der - Ful. Quite the same as a musician when enunciating triplets by counting one triplet - two triplet - three triplet - four triplet. The rhythm is contained in the syllabic structure. Now pronounce won - der - ful by placing the accent on
a) WON - der - ful b) won - DER - ful c) won - der - FUL
As you make your list of words that create the mood make sure you make a one syllable group, a two syllable group, a three syllable group, a four syllable group an even a fiver if there are any. That way when choosing how to put the words together you can create rhythmic phrases, or if you need one more word in a lyric line you can pick whichever length word has the appropriate number of syllables to ensure the flow is smooth.
After your lists are more or less complete pick a quiet time and let your attention wander over the words. You will see that nouns and verbs go together. Words describing nouns (adjectives) and words describing actions (adverbs) will begin to pair up. Make the choices interesting. Once you have a list - adjectives & nouns - adverbs and verbs… join those together in interesting ways. You will soon discover that at worst you will have created lyrical lines that are quite surreal, edgy and interesting. You can normalize them if you so desire. Say for a love song versus a dark gothic theme.
So let’s try it with a gothic theme.
- dark - dead - soul - moon - fear - dread - night (1 syllable)
- regret - escape - rapture - destroy - trauma - dismiss (2 syllable)
- understand - blood lusting - vanishing - misty plain (3 syllable)
- love triangle - hatred of day - mystical sleep (4 syllable)
Now freely add connector words like - of, in, to, or, the,
And pronouns like I, You, They, Them, Us, She, He
Now make pairs that flow together whether they make sense yet or not.
Dark regret - vanishing dead - soul trauma - moon fear
Mystical sleep of rapture - escape the dread - blood lusting soul - destroy the triangle of love - the misty plain at night
Ok… now pair up these phrases - use connectors if needed. Make little changes as they join together, reverse the order.
Escape the dread of the misty plain at night
Destroys the triangle of love
Dismiss the soul trauma of the vanishing dead
The blood lusting of dark regret
Of the fearful moon - on the misty plain of regret
Bear in mind this was rushed for demo purposes. I spent maybe 5 minutes on this. Take your time, pick your words with care from the Thesaurus and arrange your phrases with intent. Much of lyrical writing is in the emphasis on repetition. Freely move words around and repeat here and there for effect and continuity. When watching TV… reading a book… listening to others… write down catchy little phrases you like that are really just floating in the air all the time.
The larger your lists of 1,2,3,4 syllable words the more quickly lyrics can be written… with just a couple weeks of practice the quality of your lyrics will be obvious to you, and therefore obvious to everyone else.