Writing Competition – Lyrics

A reminder that, closing the Club’s musical participation in this CRUSH Festival, the lyrics writing competition closes October 17.

And a reminder that you do not have to have attended the workshop to enter the competition.

CARL’S SCrushFestivalLyricWritingInfoPECIAL  TIPS

The good thing about workshops are they cut straight to the chase – no time for casual trawling through the net for conflicting ideas on how to write lyrics.

 Our workshop presenter, Carl Wockner, has been nominated for an ARIA – which is impressive enough – and will know the result before the end of OCTOBER. Since Carl is also judging the comp, it’s worthwhile knowing his views when you’re tweaking your words. Also, since Carl wants you to identify in your entry the VERSE, CHORUS, BRIDGE, PRE-CHORUS AND CHANNEL – should your words have them, that it might be a good idea to share his views with you below.
  1. listen to the songs you love. Look up their lyrics on the web and notice how they’re built.
  2. The chorus is the most important part of the song. It’s the part people remember and hum along with. Chorus contains the narrative hook. It stays very much the same if not exactly the same throughout the song.
  3. Verses ‘tell’ the story, sometimes in very abstract ways. From a novelists POV, they are like scenes. Verses rely on the chorus to remind people what the story’s all about. Verses change, and are hard to remember.
  4. Bridges turn the story.  It seemed to me that a bridge was similar to a dramatic turning point in a novel, where you come into a scene believing one thing and exit believing another or heading in another direction. Bridges transition the narrative from scene to scene.
  5. Pre-chorus – leads into each chorus (as it sounds like it should). It’s a couple of lines of very chorus like words, ie they don’t change substantially, but they’re harder to remember because (from the lyricist’s POV) they’ve not got the narrative hook. And generally when the muso gets to them, the music it self might be transitional – a key change or something similar.
  6. Channel – a pre-chorus that is repeated but which evolves, grows and changes, each time it’s used.
  7. Not all songs have Bridges, Pre-choruses or Channels. 
  8. You might also find an introduction useful.
  9. Write for yourself but never forget the audience.
  10. Choose a style/genre of music you like and consider writing for that style. You’ll know what subjects are common, and can think of ways to make old subjects fresh.
We also learned on the weekend that three lines in a verse seems to trouble people with guitars and is generally thought to be not a good idea, and that few singers/songwriters get away with songs that go on for more that 90secs. People like Paul Simon are special in good ways. My own thought is they end up being both singer and songwriter (and producer!).
Special tip: look at your lyrics and try them out as first person, second person and third person Points of view.
All in all, many pointers echoed what we’ve already seen applied to novel/short story writing. It’s possible that writing lyrics might actively help develop a longer prose narrative.
Sweet Home Alabama  was mentioned. If you check out the lyrics you see it features an Intro, pre-chorus, 3 choruses, and 2 Verses.  That’s right, three separate sections before the verse kicks in – immediately after the first chorus.  So a useful piece to demonstrate song structure possibilities.
FYI Taylor Swift’s latest pop offering is filled with choruses, pre-choruses, refrains, and interludes. And verses, of course.
A glance at experimentalist group Radiohead shows the chorus is often a two liner that can pop up anywhere, and that they seldom do intros – though instrumentally they favour an introductory piece.
Nickleback’s (metal)  newest has two choruses of eight lines each, a pre-chorus of two lines and three verses of four lines each, I think. Possibly.

Karen Foxlee Workshop, 19 October

As part of the 2013 CRUSH festival, the Brisbane Writers Festival’s Write Across Queensland program would like to invite any interested writers to the following workshop:

 “Darkness and Light” – Writing YA with author Karen Foxlee

 Ever wanted to write for young adults?  This 3 hour workshop will show you how to develop compelling and complex teen characters, how to find a voice for them and how to keep your readers hooked through plot and structure.

After a brief overview of what Young Adult Fiction is, workshop attendees will get practical and hands-on, focussing on the following three important components of writing YA.

1.    Creating believable and compelling young adult characters:  Character basics / what matters to your character / embracing your inner teen / using emotion in your writing (writing activity)

2.    Finding your voice:  Matters of POV/ voice /dialogue (writing activity)

3.    Keeping  them keen: Conflict, plotting and structure.  How to keep your story/novel moving and how to ensure your YA reader stays with you.  (writing activity)

This 3 hour workshop explores some basics of writing for Young Adults

Expected Learning Outcomes:

The workshop attendee will gain a basic knowledge of YA fiction and the YA fiction market, as well as practical writing tools for character development, finding a voice and story structuring.

Karen Foxlee is the author of The Anatomy of Wings (UQP 2007) and The Midnight Dress (UQP 2013). The Anatomy of Wings won the Queensland Premiers Literary Award for Emerging Queensland author in 2006, the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book 2008 (South Asia/Pacific) and the Dobbie Award 2008. Both novels are published internationally. Her first children’s book, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, is set to be published in the US/UK in 2014. Karen lives and writes in Gympie, Queensland.

The workshop will be held in the ground floor, front room of the U3A building, on Saturday 19 October at 10.30am from 2.00pm. as part of the Bundaberg Writers’ Club monthly meeting activities. This is a free event, morning tea will be provided but please bring your own lunch.

Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee