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Help Writing Verses?

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Hey everyone, I'm having a problem. I can write a really good chorus, but for whatever reason I can't write the verses afterword. I've tried many ways of doing this, but I can not seem to write verses that really connect with the chorus I have created. Does anyone have an tips for this, or better yet; what has helped you write verses after you write a chorus?

Edited by tunesmithth
changed "can't to "can" in 2nd sentence....made assumption that was what poster intended, since it made no sense the other way
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Thanks Donna I do that a lot, but sometimes I find that what I come up with is better suited for a chorus than a verse, so I was just wondering if anyone has tried writing the verses after the chorus. I've looked into some methods like writing from the title of a song, etc but I did not find anything conclusive about that topic.

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I often - in fact, usually - write verses after the chorus. But that works for me because by the time I have the chorus down (and it generally gets revised), the story's theme is already clear in my mind. I know the 'who', 'what', 'when', 'where', 'how', and sometimes 'why'. ;)

You might try the 'storyboard' method. Set out your 'plot' in sections as clearly as possible. Don't rhyme anything. Simply state what you want to convey to the listener. Once you have the basic details in order, you then work at crafting it into a lyric (with rhyming, metering, poetic devices, etc.).

Here are a few basic tips.


I highly recommend you get hold of a couple of good books on writing lyrics. Anything by Pat Pattison, for instance, or by Sheila Davis. A good beginner's manual is 'Songwriting for Dummies' by Peterik, Austen, and Bickford. 'Writing Better Words for Your Song's by Rikky Rooksby is also a good reference book.

Once you know the difference between a chorus and a verse - and the separate function of those sections - it will be easier for you to write either.

If you're truly serious about learning the craft of songwriting, check out http://www.songu.com. There's also a free 6-week course starting on March 1st with Pat Pattison on https://www.coursera...versity/berklee

Be sure as well to examine very closely a number of lyrics from your favourite songs. Observe how those authors achieved the effects they wanted.

Remember too that Google is your friend. ;) Plenty of material there about writing verses.


Edited by DonnaMarilyn
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I've got to ditto what Donna said... take your chorus you have written.. then make a story out of it, then reduce the story to versus...

sometimes, I start by just writing the words that seem relative, then create phrases or sentences, and expand until you are comfortable that you've created the story you want to tell that's relative to your chorus.. then make phrases of the important parts, getting rid of unnecessary words, and creating rhymes in a logical sequence that creates the beginning, the middle and the end.... good luck

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Verses can be a little slippery at times - most times you can get your muse chatting by ruminating on the "hook" in your chorus, and not going for the obvious but trying to think out of the box a little. Here's a chorus from a song by Don Henry and Jon Vezner:

Where have you been?"

"I've looked for you forever and a day."

"Where have you been?"

"I'm just not myself when you're away."

What story could you tell with this simple hook, "Where have you been"? A missing dog/child/memory? Take some time and think about story possibilities and then check out the verse lyrics here:

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858626220/?&specific_com=73015341871 Were they anything like you were thinking?

The other problem that crops up from time to time is the dreaded 2nd Verse, when your 1st verse doesn't lead to anything more, YIKES!!! - Ralph Murphy has a neat trick for this one - Make this your second verse and write a first verse that leads to the second - it's just a cat, skin any way you want


p.s. the format that most contract songwriters in Nashville use is chorus first and then verses and maybe, maybe a bridge.

Edited by Marty Dolciamore
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, lord. I almost always write the chorus first, but as you can see, we're all different in 'how' we write. Since a song has a beginning, middle, and end, that's how I think of it...got the chorus...great! Then build the rest of the song around it...how did this story all start if this is the chorus, then what happens, then the chorus hits, we're winding down toward the end...so what happens last to finish the story...at least that's my thought process...but we all have our own ways. Good topic conversation tho as I think sometimes just reading how others create helps add to how we create :-)


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