"Where words fail, music speaks." - Hans Christian Andersen
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Issue 6    August, 2013

Sue HornerDear Sue,
Words set to music can make us smile and dance, echo our despair and express our yearning. This issue of Wordnerdery looks for writing inspiration in the music world.
Sue's signature

5 writing tips from musicians

Musical inspiration for writersWhether your favourite musicians dress in leather or Levis, chances are they have mastered the use of alliteration, metaphors, similes and other expressive language to tell a story with their music.

Here are five writing tips we can take from them, with some examples that speak to me:

1.  Draw on the senses, so the listener/reader can almost smell, taste, see, touch or hear:
"Foghorns blowing in the night / Salt sea air in the morning breeze"
– "So Quiet in Here," Van Morrison

2.  Write from the heart:
"Though I try to hide it, it's clear / My world crumbles when you are not here"
– "I Try," Macy Grey

3.  Use familiar words in unexpected ways:
"You quench my heart and oh / You quench my mind"
– "Two Step," Dave Matthews Band

4.  Express emotions and stories:
"I've been torn apart, put back together / With a couple of pieces in wrong"
– "Head Over Heels," Blue Rodeo

5.  Find the exact word to express what you want to say:
"When your heart is hollow"
– "Sister," The Black Keys.

What music lyrics speak to you? Hit "reply" and share them, or let me know if you'd like help making your employee newsletters sing.

Images: Guitar and sheet music by Daniel St. Pierre via Sue by Chris Salvo,

Related links

A Twitter account called "Best Music Lyric" posts random song lyrics.

Start of a five-part series on writing lyrics.

From the Red Jacket Diaries blog

Tips from an IABC writing conference, wherein I mention lyrics.

A follow-up to the June newsletter with more expressive writing examples.


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