Wordy Wednesday: Never Be Replaced

I have my laptop back!

It’s stupidly nice getting to type this post using the keyboard I’m used to.

Not much else has happened in the last week. I did some internship work. I did some novel work (I’m finally almost done outlining!) (and by “almost done” I mean “I have fifty-six pages of notes and if I have to do many more I will have a breakdown”). I did lots of family stuff. (We saw the new penguin exhibit at the Detroit Zoo! LOOK AT THIS CUTIE.) Aaand that’s just about it.

That’s kind of the nice part of summer, though, you know? My exhaustion from the school year has really caught up with me, so I’ve been sleeping a lot and watching lots of movies and generally ignoring the real world. And I’m so grateful for the time to detox this summer.

In honor of summer and detoxing, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a(n ancient) song I wrote the summer after my junior year of high school. (Featuring: a recording of seventeen-year-old Julia very awkwardly singing it, because what’s a blog post without some public embarrassment.)

**********

VERSE1
Too tired to go to sleep
So I think I’ll write a song
Sometimes I wanna miss you
But the day is just too long

And you know, this restless feeling?
It is your fault
I should’ve known not to trust you
With my glass heart

CHORUS
But you said come here
And you took my hand
And you led the way
Past the grocery stand

And you said come here
And you touched my face
Funny how a stranger,
Can never be replaced

Funny how a stranger,
Can never be replaced

VERSE2
These city streets are empty
Without you by my side
I miss the feel of your warm skin
You’d breathe, and we’d be alive

And you know, this reminiscent feeling?
It is your fault
I should’ve known not to trust you
With my glass heart

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE
And I want to say
That I don’t miss you
Every day
But that’s a lie

And I want to say
That you don’t mean anything
In how each day
I cry

But I miss you
Your sweet breath on my cheek
And I miss you
Without you, my pulse is weak

And I miss you
All those times, you laughed at me
And I miss you
Always thought, we’d be eternity

Eternity

[Repeat CHORUS x2]

ENDING
Funny how a stranger,
Can be the most familiar face
Funny how a stranger,
Can never be replaced

Too tired to go to sleep…

**********

(Wow, that is way more melodramatic than I remembered. Good work, seventeen-year-old Julia.)

^You’ll notice the poll this week isn’t for next Wednesday, but the Wednesday after. I’m going out of town next week, so you’ll have a pre-written Wordy Wednesday coming your way on June 8. (However, vote for what you’d like to see on the 15th!)

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Coming Home

I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE!!

I’m going to do a longer post dedicated to that soon, hopefully, but for now here are a few pictures from the four ceremonies my family was kind (and patient) enough to sit through over the weekend.


Since graduation, I’ve spent a lot of time watching movies with my friends, taking part in a last few Wolverine traditions (mostly: painting The Rock), and semi-moving home. (I say “semi” because I’m bouncing around a lot of places this summer, so most of my stuff is still at my apartment. But I am home for a couple weeks now, whoooo.)

Also, in the past week I’ve had a couple cool interviews and a fun guest post go up in different places:

  • Interview on the Ch1Con Tumblr (as part of our 2016 blog tour), about talented women and good writing! Read it here.
  • Guest post on Allison the Writer (also as part of our 2016 blog tour), about Star Wars and how it’s affected my writing! Read it here. (ALSO I’m giving away a full manuscript critique on this one, so make sure to enter the giveaway!)
  • Interview on the University of Michigan Facebook page, about graduating and my time at Michigan! Read it here.

And now: this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song.

**********
CHORDS: G, D, Em, C [on last, just G-D-G-D-Em-C]

INTRO
Don’t leave the light on for me,
I will find you in the dark
And you should probably lock the door,
I hold your key beside my heart
I promise I am coming home,
no matter how far away and long I roam
I am always, at least a little bit
on my way home

VERSE1
Bags never seemed so heavy
until you’re carrying them across
the ocean wide

And I’ve never felt separation
the way everyone else does
but with this, I might

TRANSITION
And I don’t know where
I’ll be this time next year
or this time tomorrow

But I know someday
I’ll be right back here,
in this space I borrow

CHORUS
So don’t leave the light on for me,
I will find you in the dark
And you should probably lock the door,
I hold your key beside my heart
I promise I am coming home,
no matter how far away and long I roam
I am always, at least a little bit
on my way home

VERSE2
I know it doesn’t make sense
but I need new places
the way I used to need you

And I was born running,
never been able to sit still,
but maybe here’s what I’m meant to do

TRANSITION2
And I don’t know what
I want to do next year
or even next week

But I know someday
running right back to you
is what I’ll seek

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [Em, C, G, D]
And I take you with me
in the photographs on my phone
I’ve got these memories to guide me
when I’m thrown

Don’t you see you’ve prepared me
the best anyone could
I promise I’ll write each week,
and I promise I’ll be good

[Repeat CHORUS]

ENDING
Dreaming of the letters I’ll send,
don’t know what else to say, but
I don’t know when,
but I’m coming home someday

I am always, at least a little bit
on my way home

**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

P.S. May the fourth be with you!

Wordy Wednesday: Remember

Sorry this post is going up after midnight again! I made the mistake of beginning work on world-building/plotting on Time Travel Heist Story over the weekend and it’s basically swallowed me whole at this point.

Things that have happened in the past week:

  • We had our one and only U.S. preview performance of the play we’re taking to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! If you’re interested in seeing it, the recording of the performance is one of the perks you can select on our Indiegogo. (Despite all of our grants and fundraising efforts this school year, we still haven’t raised quite enough money to afford the trip–we still need money for housing–so we turn to you, dear internet. You can donate to help make our dream of performing in Scotland a reality here.)
  • I got most of my grades for the semester in! I’m still waiting on one, but so far my lowest grade is an A-, so like I’ll take it.
  • Ch1Con blog tour is in full swing! If you’d like to read any of the posts (so far, we mostly have lots of brilliant interviews up), you can check out the schedule and get links to all the participating blogs here.
  • Did I mention that I am buried in The Novel? Because really, outside of the occasional rehearsal or break to eat, all I’ve been doing since Saturday evening is work on this thing. My brain is fried but I still have SO MUCH WORK TO DO before I get to begin actually for real writing this thing. (WHO INVENTED PLOTTING AND WHY DID THEY LET ME TRY IT?)

On the upside, the other thing I’ve been taking the occasional break for is graduation stuff. As in: senior pictures (round four) (during which I may or may not have gotten bitten by a squirrel), picking up graduation tickets, and decorating my cap.

It’s beyond weird to me that I’m graduating college. I know I’ll look back on this in a few years and think about how young I am right now–because that’s how it feels looking back on graduating from high school (heck, that’s how it feels looking back on last summer)–but at the moment this is the oldest I’ve ever been, and graduating college is one of those Major Life Milestones, and I feel somehow both prepared and entirely unprepared at the same time for this. And it’s just weird.

Knowing this was coming, though (no matter how much I might try to sidestep change), in February last year I wrote a song about graduating (from the perspective of who I was at eighteen, talking to who I am now at twenty-two). And this felt like the perfect time to share it.

So, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song.

**********

VERSE1 [Chords: D, A, C, G]
Wake up, today’s the day
You can’t stop the world from moving
Four years flew by in a blink

Remember, what it was like
To be five years old on your very first bike
Now you’re twenty-two and the world is big around you

TRANSITION1 [C, G, D, A]
And I know what it’s like
To feel like everything is ending
But I’m proof that you grow stronger
When everything is changing

CHORUS [C, G, D, A]
This is just another page turn
Don’t forget all the lessons you learned,
Like working hard and cutting loose
From traveling and talking and Dr. Seuss

This isn’t the end of the book
Just another chapter, I love the hook
From New York to Oxford to back home to here
You are so strong, have nothing to fear

[End on D]
Remember? Remember?

VERSE2 [D, A, C, G]
Get moving, tomorrow’s so soon
Enjoy what you have but don’t hold on too
Tight, because tomorrow’s looking all right

Remember, what it was like
To be sixteen years old, afraid that you might
Fall and now here you are flying

TRANSITION2 [C, G, D, A]
And I know what it’s like
To feel like you don’t want to leave
But I’m proof that things are okay
As long as you believe

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [C, G, D, A]
And so much has happened since I was you
Sure you cut your hair and gained a few
But I see you—still—deep beneath your skin

And you lost some battles but you won some wars
Don’t worry, not everything’s an open door
You’re amazing and I’m so proud to be you

Please remember these years as fun and good
Because parts of them were and you always should
Remember—the good parts more

[Repeat CHORUS]

ENDING [D, A, C, G]
Tomorrow is a bright shining day
Don’t let your past stand in your way
Remember? Remember?

You are more than your unaccomplished dreams
You are braver than it seems
Remember? Remember?

Remember? Remember.

**********

Thanks for reading! (The next time I talk to you, I’ll be a U of M alumnus. Thanks for sticking with me throughout the past four years! I’ll see you on the other side.)

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: The End

I AM SO TIRED RIGHT NOW. I’m almost finally caught up with everything, though. (And, luckily, most of the stuff left has to be done in the daytime–which means my night looks like just hosting Ch1Con Chat, eating cold pizza, and watching Netflix until I fall asleep.)

Meanwhile, on top of everything else, my right knee has been hurting for a few days now (started during BookCon). I’ve got a brace on it, so hopefully it gets better soon–but can we just address the fact that I managed to injure myself while literally STANDING IN LINES all day at a CONVENTION GLORIFYING READING? (Even my injuries are nerdy.)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is some song lyrics I wrote a while back.

**********

[Capo 3 – Em, C, G, D]
VERSE1
Look out my window / and what do I see
A blank strip of sky, stretching away from me
And I am alone here / lost in a crowd
Can’t even miss the silence / when it gets so loud

And I can’t see your features / washed out by the lights
I can’t hear your voice / or care enough to fight

TRANSITION
And I don’t know how to move / when we’re locked here in one place
And I’m looking for a sign / upon your face

CHORUS
We can’t see the stars at night
They’re washed out by the city lights
We stare at the satellites
They’re the only things to penetrate the night

But we know / the stars glow
Burning somewhere up there / so far away from here
And we know / this is breaking past bend
Wishing on this satellite / will be our end
Will be our end

VERSE2
Walking down the street / music in my ears
Disconnected from real life / and all my fears
I am only one / of a lost generation
No one can save / an entire broken nation

And I can’t hear your voice / or care enough to fight
I’m always too tired / but no, everything’s all right

TRANSITION
And I don’t know how to move / when to move is to leave
And I’m looking for a way / to believe

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE
Tell me, where is this going / because I don’t know anymore
Tell me, where is this leading / because I don’t see a door

Tell me, where is this going / because I don’t know anymore
Tell me, where is this leading / because I’m looking for a door

We can’t see the stars at night
They’re washed out by the city lights
We stare at the satellites
They’re the only things to penetrate the night

We can’t see the stars at night
And that’s not all right, all right

[Repeat CHORUS]

ENDING
This is the end
This is the end

**********

I should finally get the BEA/BookCon recap posts up sometime this weekend, so keep a lookout for those! Thank you for your patience. And, as always, thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Edge of the World

It’s the first day of spring term! A tiny part of me would have liked to have gotten more than five seconds of summer vacation, but at the same time, I’m taking screenwriting. So, like, spring term is going to be a lot of hard work, but also SO MUCH FUN.

Also, in the last couple days I found out I got a 4.0 last semester (and my overall GPA is back up into a not-terrible position, thank God) and that I got accepted to a special humanities-based committee on campus that’s starting in the fall and sounds amazing. So I’m having a pretty solid week so far.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote a couple months ago.

**********
[Capo 3]
VERSE1 [C, G, Em, C]
How did we get here,
at the end of the line?
Did we turn the map wrong?
Did we misread the signs?

And where do we go from here,
when I can’t turn around?
I’m a bird afraid of flying.
No, I’m afraid of hitting the ground.

TRANSITION1 [C, G, Em, D]
And I don’t know
where to go-oh-oh-oh-oh
from here,
from here

CHORUS [C, G, Em, D]
Tell me, where is this leading?
I need to know how we’re proceeding.
Left, right, straight ahead—
Will the sun rise on us as good as dead?

Tell me, should I keep believing,
Evening when time keeps leaving?
Up, down, crash into the ground—
Will our screams on the edge make a sound?

Falling off the edge of the world.
Falling off the edge of the world.

VERSE2 [C, G, Em, C]
How did it come to this,
after all that we’ve been through?
Could we have tried harder?
Were we destined to lose?

And how do we move on from here,
when everything’s a fall?
I’m so afraid of dying.
No, I’m afraid of not living at all.

TRANSITION2 [C, G, Em, D]
All I know
is the lights glow-oh-oh
even here,
even here

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [C, G, Em, D]
Everything is about movement,
but they try to lock you out of it,
and I am just so sick of this—
leaving on a plane, train,
no time to explain

[Repeat CHORUS]

ENDING [C, G, Em, D]
Falling off the edge of the world.
Falling off the edge of the world.

**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Afternoon with You

I WON NANOWRIMO 2014!

After taking Monday off, yesterday I shoved through the last 2.5K to hit 50,000 words and won at 8:58 PM. Which means I somehow finished three days ahead of schedule, despite all my setbacks.

The Awful Novel still isn’t anywhere close to finished, so I’ve got a lot more writing to do. But that can wait until after finals. (Or at least after the twelve page term paper due Tuesday.)

This makes seven years in a row of winning National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe I’ve been competing for so long, but I also can’t imagine my November without it.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote back in May.

**********

[G, C, Am, D]
VERSE1
We have a little time
With the sunshine
It’s cold outside
But warm in here

Blue skies with puffy clouds
Playing our music too loud
Legs stretched out
On the couch

CHORUS
Let’s make
A movie of today
It won’t make a good film,
But we’ll have a lot to say

There won’t be conflict
To get the rave reviews
But I would trade a thousand Oscars
For this afternoon with you

VERSE2
We go for an adventure
Around the backyard pond
Climb a tree and don’t come down
’til the shadows are long

We pick some clovers
Make wishes on dandelions
Dance to the sound of the breeze and
Laugh until we’re crying

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [Am, G, C, D]
Tomorrow you’ll be on
A train away
But we’ll have the videos
Of this May day

ENDING [G, C, Am, D]
I’m so glad
We made a movie of today
It’s a beautiful film
It has just enough to say

It has no conflict,
But we don’t need the rave reviews
I would trade a million Oscars
For another afternoon with you

**********

Thanks for reading, and good luck if you’re still trudging through the trenches! You can do it!

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 50,127.

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: All Fall Down

Several things:

1.) I FINISHED REVISING. You know all those times I’ve cryptically referred to the project I’ve been revising for almost literally forever? Well, I finished finished. And it’s now off with critique partners. So fingers crossed I didn’t leave any gaping plot holes or anything. (For reference of how long I’ve been working on this thing: When I looked back at the original revision notes, a couple weeks ago, there were change suggestions listed there that I’d thought had always been that way.)

2.) We are SO CLOSE to being able to make these Ch1Con-related announcements. We’ll hopefully have them up tomorrow. Pinky swear!

3.) This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote about Ally Carter’s upcoming novel All Fall Down (GoodReads link). Of course, I haven’t READ All Fall Down yet, because it doesn’t come out until January. (SO FAR AWAY.) But I love all of Ally’s other novels, and the plot blurb sounds amazing, per usual, so I got really excited one day and wrote a song.

Isn’t this cover BEAUTIFUL? [Image kidnapped from Goodreads.]

[Warning: The microphone on my new laptop sucks, I messed up a couple times, and I look like I just survived a day of class (because I did). So this isn’t the greatest recording ever. But it’ll give you a feel for how the song SHOULD sound.]

**********
[Bm, D, A, G]
VERSE1
New life in an old city
Don’t even bother to say hello
Tell me, are you trying to break me?
Or is this the only love you know

And I’m sitting here among her things
The memories press my eyes
Until I need to run away
But I am drowning

CHORUS
’Cause we all fall down
Between the cracks of this fading town
You won’t know where to go
When the light’s fading too fast
red, green, to yellow

We all fall down
Torn from the pages of our books
Running from the lands that we took
The sky’s too blue for the freefall to slow down

We’re nearing too near to the ground
We all fall down

VERSE2
Don’t know who to trust
My entire life is a cliché
Of all the ways
things can burn to dust

Not a child, but I’m still scared
The past doesn’t have me prepared
For what this city holds
Can’t fit your mold

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE
Gonna find my way, through the mysteries
You can’t keep your secrets safe from me
The fire stole so much, but I will take it back
I will smile as you have a heart attack

We all fall down

[Repeat CHORUS]

**********

Thanks for reading! (And not driving me out of town with pitchforks over that recording.)

Goal for today: 2,000.

Overall goal: 8,000.

Current word count: 7,140.

Off to NaNo!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Madre mi Madre

Exactly one month from today, the 2014 Chapter One Young Writers Conference will take place! I know I’ve been flooding you with Ch1Con stuff lately, so I’m not going to ramble too much about it now. But know that I am very excited, and if you’re a young writer looking for something to do Saturday, June 14th and/or Sunday, June 15th, you should register for the conference here.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. I got my (wonderfully impacted) bottom wisdom teeth out Friday morning, so I spent the entire weekend hopped up on Vicodin and unable to eat solid foods. Proof that my mother is amazing: She spent the entire weekend changing my ice packs and making me mushy food and getting up in the middle of the night to make sure I took my medicine.

This is just one of the zillions of great things my mom has done for me. I have no idea what I’d do without her.

So, as a thank you to my amazing madre, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote about her. (I was planning to put a video up on Youtube, but my mouth is still too swollen to sing. Sorry!)

**********

VERSE1 [C, G, Am, F]
So this is a kind of funny story
And it might get a little folklore-y
But we’re talking guts and glory here

This is the story of a superhero
And everyone should know her name

TRANSITION1
There’s no need to explain
But I will anyway

CHORUS
And I am just so thankful
To have you in my life
Don’t know what I would do
Without you

And I am oh so grateful
To have you here today
Don’t you know you are the very best
Madre mi Madre

VERSE2
You helped me with my homework,
Proofread every story and give me tough love
All the many times I need it

You have such a giving heart,
It really sets you apart
And almost all my memories have you,
Because of the great things you do

TRANSITION2
You deserve to be remembered,
Every single day of the year

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [Am, F, C, G]
And I could spend a million years
Talking about how great you are
You do everything,
Even bought your not-musically-inclined daughter a guitar

[Repeat CHORUS]

**********

91Also, protip: Don’t wear a shirt with a tight collar when you have oral surgery. You will not be able to take it off while you’re all swollen and sensitive, therefore leaving you with no choice but to wear the disgusting thing for a week straight. (Ugh.)

 

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“Peter Pan”)

You know, I always have so much I want to tell you, and then the instant I open a new blog post I forget and my brain just goes like, “Blahhh… words… wasn’t there something I was supposed to remember to say… blahhhhh blah blah blah blah… on well… blah… give me a caramel apple… whooo.”

Yeah, I’m blanking pretty hardcore at the moment.

But what I do remember: It’s Wednesday, so this is a Wordy Wednesday post. And this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote around the time I graduated high school. I got really nostalgic and sappy my final semester, and this song basically describes what I felt like when I met some of the theatre kids from the class that would be freshmen the year after I graduated (aka: REALLY sappy). Looking at them was like looking at myself four years earlier, and it was the weirdest, most Twilight Zone-ish feeling I’ve ever experienced.

**********

[C, G, Em, D]

VERSE1

Hey there, little girl, with the braces on your smile

You’re so lucky, don’t you know, you get to be here for a while

I remember you calling my name, like I was a celebrity

Well, being a senior, graduating, isn’t all it cracked up to be

I’ve seen that look on your face before

Like you are waiting for someone to open the door

And you’re scared of being lost, and you’re scared of being alone

But you’re happy now, ’cause you’re finding a new home

CHORUS

Right now you’re at the beginning,

but the pages turn pretty fast

and someday you’ll have to let go

because today’ll be in the past

And I know it sucks, and I know it’s mean

And I know you feel stuck in between

But just remember as much of everything

as you can. Then fall in love with Peter Pan.

VERSE2

Hey there, little girl, just happy to fit in

Don’t forget who you want to be, for the sake of pleasing him

And just ’cause it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s always right

Don’t worry, not for now, it’s not goodbye at closing night

I’ve seen that look in your eyes before

I’ve said the words that you can’t ignore

And I’d give anything, to be in your shoes

You don’t know what you have, until it’s something you will lose

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE

Those four years are going go by faster than you think

One second you’re making friends, then it’s all gone in a blink

And you’ll cling to the memories, the bad ones and the good

Thinking of all the things you’d relive, wouldn’t change them if I could

[Repeat CHORUS]

**********

59

 

 

~Julia

Oh, PS. I just remembered one of the things I was supposed to say: THIS IS A BOOK has a new home–it’s very own website! And Mel and I are holding a contest to draw our logo (a squish)! Make sure to check it out and enter your drawing: http://thisisabookthebook.wordpress.com/

Wordy Wednesday (“My Songwriting Process”)

This past week has been crazy. Since last Wednesday, I moved to college, started classes (I’m doing fifteen credit hours and I have ALL my classes on Tuesdays, ugh), probably finally finalized the dates for the Chapter One Young Writers Conference 2014, registered a custom domain for this blog (which I’ll talk about more in a future blog post–stay tuned, but just know for now that nothing’s changing for you, so there’s no need to worry), and… well…  Hannah and I also finally started vlogging. (I say “finally” because we’ve been talking about starting a vlog for the better part of a year now. So the fact that we actually did it is kind of unbelievable.)

Our first video talks about how failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Check it out?

Snapshot_20130904_10This is me begging. If the constipated look on my face doesn’t convince you, maybe a picture of Sammy begging you much more cutely will:

IMG_2177If you still aren’t planning on watching our video after this picture, you have no soul.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a Writing Process post about how I write my songs. Thanks go to the fabulous Rachel for this topic suggestion!

**********

Before we begin, here are some examples of my songwriting, in no particular order (AKA I’m just posting these as I remember them):

Fine

Choke

Stupid and Young

Across the Sea

I’m not really a musician–I’ve known how to read music since elementary school and I have experience playing most percussion instruments, along with singing, but it’s difficult for me to hear harmonies or keep a rhythm, so music’s never been a career option. However, I do really enjoy songwriting–mainly for the lyrics–and I probably have a couple hundred songs written out in notebooks and Word documents.

The process for writing a song is always unique, but I’ve found that I do follow a very loose set of guidelines while doing it, at this point. Here we go.

Inspiration

The first step in writing a song is finding the inspiration for one. Every once in a while I’ll try to sit down with no ideas in mind and try to come up with something, but that hardly ever works–more commonly, I’ll be in the middle of eating dinner or watching a movie or taking notes in class and BOOM: a line or feeling or melody will pop into my head, and I won’t be able to get it to stop playing on repeat for the rest of the day.

Write It Down

The first chance I get, once I’ve gotten that first initial flash of inspiration, I grab paper or my laptop and write down what I’ve got. Then I pull out my guitar and get to work extending the line/melody/feeling into something longer. Sometimes this becomes the chorus, but it’s usually the first verse. I’ve found that when I get the idea for the chorus before anything else, it’s a lot harder for me to finish the song than when I get a verse first (I have a LOT of really catchy choruses sitting all alone in abandoned documents without any verses or bridges to support them).

I pick out what chords I’ll be using for the verses first, then the chorus, then the bridge; I try to have all the chords worked out before I go really heavy-duty into figuring out the words. Sometimes I’ll change the chords a few times while I’m working, but I like to have a template to go off of when I start.

Write with a Template

I write my songs using the basic pop/country song template, because I’ve found it works pretty well. It’s long enough to let you say everything you want to, without being so long that the song loses its focus. It goes as follows:

  • [OPTIONAL INTRODUCTION]
  • VERSE 1
  • [OPTIONAL] TRANSITION TO CHORUS 1
  • CHORUS
  • VERSE 2
  • [OPTIONAL] TRANSITION TO CHORUS 2
  • CHORUS
  • BRIDGE
  • CHORUS (There’s a little wiggle room here for changing the words or melody of the chorus, etc)
  • ENDING

Introduction

I’m not a big fan of lyrical introductions in songs. They’re a bit like prologues in books–rarely actually necessary. Most of the time I’ll just strum the chords from the verse in the introduction. If I do feel like I need to have words in the introduction, I’ll use either one two-line or four-line stanza, then move into the first verse.

Verses

Generally, my verses are either two four-line stanzas or four two-line stanzas long. Or sometimes I’ll do two three-line stanzas. The verses are the meat of the song–where the real conflict and emotion come out.

Transitions

Transitions between the verses and chorus are another optional thing. I generally only use them if there’s a big change in the chords/melody between the verses and chorus, in order to ease into it more. These will either be just a chord change or either one or two two-line stanzas. Transitions are meant to be short and do just that–transition.

Chorus

The chorus is the exciting part of the song. It’s the part that needs to be really catchy, and it’s not as specific as the verses. Whereas they are there to tell the story, the chorus is the more general overall look at what the song’s about. My choruses generally fall into being two four-line stanzas with a repeated melody followed by a three-line stanza with a new one, but that isn’t always the case or how you need to do it. It’s just what I’m most comfortable doing.

Bridge

The bridge is the point in the song when everything’s supposed to change. This is the surprise twist–the climax. I don’t write this until I’ve gotten everything else done, save for the ending. The length varies A TON per song, but I try to shoot for two four-line stanzas and go from there.

After the bridge, I always return to the chorus–however, the chorus isn’t always the same, here, as the one I’ve been using up until this point. Most of the time I’ll play the first half of the chorus twice, or mess with the melody a bit, or change some of the words. Since the point of the bridge is the change the course of the song, it makes sense to change the chorus–which has already been repeated twice and therefore is engrained into your memory a bit at this point–too. It shows how the bridge has really made a difference in whatever the conflict is that the song covers.

Ending

After that, we’re just down to the ending. Sometimes I’ll just end with the chorus, other times I’ll repeat the beginning of the first verse (sometimes with some words changed), or other times I’ll write a whole new bit at the end. When I do that, I try to copy the flow of the verses.

Play With It

Once I’ve got an entire song done, I play it a few times to make sure everything’s doing what it’s supposed to (and also to make sure that I won’t forget the melodies). While I’m doing this, I fix up the lyrics to make sure everything flows and makes sense, and sometimes change around some of the chords.

Then I let the song sit for a while, usually a few days, after which I come back and play the song a few more times, perfecting it more. Once I’ve gotten to the point that I’m no longer making changes every time I play it, I call it done-enough, and voila: I’ve got a song.

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So yeah, that’s my songwriting process. It works pretty well for me and it keeps songwriting fun. I try to set aside a couple hours every few days to work on songs, but usually I just work as close as possible to when that first bit of inspiration strikes.

If there’s anything else writing-related you’d like me to talk about in a future Wordy Wednesday blog post, leave your suggestion(s) in the comments (or email me or whatever) and vote for the Writing Process option in this week’s poll, below. Thanks! (Also, don’t forget to watch and subscribe Hannah and my new vlogging channel on Youtube, Hannah and Julia’s Vlog! We’d really, really appreciate it.)

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~Julia