The words “jump” and “catapult,” while synonyms, have very different visual and emotional responses from a reader/listener. Verbs can help your songs rise above the expected.
Because something as simple as word choice can move a song from nice when heard, to memorable, every word counts. Since emotional connection is what brings it home for a listener, verbs are a key part of your arsenal. The right verbs can bring a whole new dynamic to your song.
But how do you get there?
Verb Power Songwriting Exercise
- Go through the lyrics and circle all of your verbs.
- Remove them from the song and write them down on a separate sheet of paper. KEY STEP!
- Give your verb a score in terms of it’s ability to “electrify” anything. How interesting are they?
Let’s go with the traditional rock range of 0 – 11 for our scale.
For anything under 5, find a new word that’s at least a 6.
– “Run” is a 2 but “Scamper” is a 7
– “Stagger” is a 3 but “Wrecking ball dancing down the hallway” is an 11!
- Now, go back and do the same thing, but now use 8 as your bar instead of 5.
- Plug the words back into your song – how does it sound?
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