To help learn more about what is one of the biggest challenges in writing a song – story line or thought progression – we’ll take a look at a song outline using the song outline worksheet.

This week we’ll outline “Kill A Word” written by Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Luke Dick.


Genesis of the Song


Luke Dick came up with the hook/title in March 2015.

In an interview with, he explains: “I had the title, ‘Kill One Word‘. I was trying to wrap my head around one particular word and whether it was going to be a love song, or if it was going to be about a goodbye or something like that. Then I just changed ‘One‘ to ‘a Word,’ and it opened up all manners of possibilities.”

He pitched the idea to Jeff Hyde at their next songwriting appointment.

Hyde gave Eric Church a heads up, and Eric Church showed up to finish the song with the bridge in hand.


Song Outline

I’ll be filling out the information using the Song Outline Worksheet available in the SongChops Member Library.  Membership is free.  Sign up and access worksheets, song analysis and marketing guides.

This song is interesting in that it uses the hook line as a refrain at the end of each verse.  By doing this, the structure is a bit old school, which adds to its uniqueness.

Song Title Kill A Word Genre Country
Songwriter Luke Dick, Eric Church & Jeff Hyde Structure V | V | B | V | B
Plot (What is the foundation on which the characters and setting are built?)
Attitude/Emotion – this plot is not a story line. The core focus of the song is a single attitude or emotion. Descriptors are focused on the emotion or attitude. I.e., stomping out negative words/actions/emotions.
Speaker/Perspective (Who is telling the story and why? Who are they talking to?)
Person talking to themselves. Internal dialogue about destructive words and actions toward others.
Verse I (How does the story begin? How does verse drive to title and set up chorus?)
Speaker thinking to themselves “If I could kill a word and banish it from existence what would they be and how would I kill them?” Verse is the response to that question and ends with the hook/title.
Verse II (How does the story progress? How does the verse expand the story?)
Speaker internally asking: “And what else would I do?” Verse is the response to the question and ends with the hook/title.
Chorus (How does it summarize the main lyric of the lyric? How is the hook memorable?)
Since Luke Dick called it a Bridge we’ll stick with that! No chorus!  Hook is used as a refrain at the end of each verse.
Bridge (How does it contrast with verses and chorus? What’s the new perspective?)
Declarative “bring it on” statement: while these kinds of words and acts will always exist, remember, you can’t unhear or unsay them. If it were up to the speaker they would all change to “love and truth”.
Verse III (How does the story end?) Or Chorus (How is it changing for emphasis?)
Speaker internally asking: “And what else would I do?” Verse is the response to the question and ends with the hook/title.
“Kill A Word” has been nominated for a 2017 ACM Song Of The Year Award.


More Articles:

Inside Eric Church’s “Kill A Word”, Lauren Tingle

Luke Dick‘s web site