The adage "show 'em, don't tell 'em" is the same as saying a picture is worth a thousand words. According to industry pro Cliff Goldmacher, images are the most efficient and powerful ways to communicate your verse message. In this online songwriting video, Cliff gives examples of how to show your listener with images instead of telling them with descriptions.
- Rule number four.…Show 'em, don't tell 'em.…Honestly, the single most efficient and powerful way…to communicate in your lyric is to use images.…A picture truly is worth a thousand words.…For example,…you could either describe someone in your song…as a sexy woman who is kind of evil,…or you could describe her as…a black heart in a green dress.…I think you get my point.…
Really, really showing people images…does so much of a better job than just describing.…In our song example,…one of the things that we try to do in this particular song…was use those kinds of images to really tell a story.…So why don't we give that a listen now?…- ♪ And the one thing that I know for sure ♪…♪ is it's time for ♪…♪ a better, a better color than blue ♪…♪ This is me, Baby, closing that door ♪…- So by using expressions like "a better color than blue"…or "closing the door" what we're trying to do…in this particular lyric is really situate the listener…so that they understand what the singer is singing about…by using these kinds of images.…
- Writing lyrics that are conversational and natural
- Making every line count
- Putting your song's hook at the end of a chorus
- Creating simple and unique melodies
- Keeping song intros short and longer verses at the beginning of a song