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Action Verbs Lift Your Songwriting As They Abandon Passive Verbs

Jun 1, 2008
Action verbs lift your songwriting as they abandon passive verbs. Passive verbs are death to most songs.

Learning about how to use active verbs and how to avoid using passive verbs is important to songwriting.

You want your characters to take action, be exciting and interesting. Use verbs to create action, excitement and interest in your song.

Songs need a sense of direction to keep them moving and to hold the listener's interest.

It's necessary to emotionally connect with the listener in your songs. Make memories for them through your lyric, music or both.

It's this connection that makes the listener stay with the song all the way through. Makes them want to listen to it again.

People get bored quickly and their attention wanders. It's not their fault. It's just the way everyone is hardwired.

Losing them is not what you want while they are listening to your song. Your song competes for their attention and loyalty.

Doesn't matter how great the second half of your song is if you've lost them in the first half.

Use everything in your song to tie together your ideas and word and force your listener to pay attention. Lead them with a string of words.

Ever had a day when it's hard to motivate yourself to do something? Nothing seems to happen even though it seems you're trying hard.

In the world of songwriting there are lazy verbs. They don't seem to get things going or moving.

Passive verbs are the lazy ones. They lie around, fill up valuable space in your song but don't motivate listeners.

Sometimes you just want the listener to lie around. That's OK, but even those songs also need to hold the listener's attention.

The voice of a verb is determined by if the subject of the sentence directly receives the action that the verb creates.

Think of yourself as a movie director. The director's job is to put everything together and make things happen.

When directors want to start the scene rolling they Ready -Places - Action! Until then the actors just hang around waiting.

Your job as a song writer is similar. In every line you write you call your actors to their places and then to action.

Your actors are your lyrics. You need to organize them into lyrics so they'll show off and put on a show for the listener.

You can't make a great movie when all you have is a cast of bad actors. You can't write a great song when you use passive verbs.

The good news is there are lots of action verbs dying to get a part in your song. Just just look for them and set up an audition.

Here are some examples. In these statements the focus of the thought is the actions slammed, swallowed and sold and characters who acted.

Jim slammed the door. - The old man swallowed his medicine. - Jennifer sold her house.

Here are the examples stated in the passive voice.

The door was slammed by Jim. - The medicine was swallowed by the old man. - Jennifer's house was sold by Jennifer

Notice how in passive voice the people and their actions play second fiddle to the object of the action. This steals drains your song.

The door, medicine and house become more important than the actions of the people. Nouns are important but only verbs create action.

Avoid passive voice like the plague. They kill your song. Active voice makes your characters dynamic, exciting and interesting.

They gets the listener more involved in your song. That's how to connect with them so they're part of the story you're painting.

Passive verbs to avoid are: be, is, are, am, was, being, been, and were. Re-state lyrics with active verbs to create more action.

You'll thank yourself as your songs come to life and as listeners show their appreciation by listening to your song.

Develop active voice in your song. Always do action checks on all your verbs and re-write as necessary.
About the Author
John Cowell - His fresh approach to songwriting will have you saying -Ah-Ha- over and over again. To get simple and terrific ideas on how to write great songs visit Great SongWriting.com. Build your dream web site and web business like John did at Site Build It.
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