This is a concept that I am gradually beginning to understand how to use. A friend once critiqued my first novel with:
“There’s so much great stuff in there it needs to slow its roll and steep a little, meaning take longer to explain things and have a nice build up.”
– Chris Gabriel, song writer
Chris explained it as a technique that professional song writers use. It made me wonder how many other song writing techniques could apply to story writing. So, I researched song writing advice and found dozens of tips. Here’s the top 6.
1. Practice. Like any other creative process such as playing guitar or programming synth sounds, lyric-writing is a skill that can be learnt and improved upon.
2. Don’t be disheartened if your lyrics aren’t perfect on the first draft. Many professional writers will rewrite a song’s lyrics dozens of times before they make it onto record.
3. Persevere. More often than not, songs aren’t born, they’re created and sculpted. Don’t expect a song to arrive fully formed; they sometimes take time and you’ll need to work at it.
4. If you can’t quite figure out how to say what you want within a particular line, jot down the gist of it and move on to another part of the song – you can come back to it later. That way, you won’t spend hours wrestling with one small line that might turn out to be insignificant in the wider context of the song.
5. Try to have a clear idea of what the song is about. You should be able to sum up the essence of the song in one sentence.
6. Analyze other songs. Try to pick out the differences in lyrics between your favorite songs and your own and apply any lyrical techniques you learn to your own work.
I think we story writers can learn a lot from song writers. Oh and, if anyone has insight into “Steep and Roll,” please post it in the comments?