The Second Verse – How to Write the *%&!@ Thing!

Ā© I.Woloshen

Why is it that the hardest part of a lyric to write is so often the second verse? Ever had this problem? It’s almost as if you’ve already said it all in the first verse…so where do you go from there?

There are several schools of thought on this one…I’ll tell you mine! First of all, maybe you HAVE said it all in the first verse. Some stories are shorter than others, some jokes get to the punchline faster. But don’t give up yet! There are certainly some things you might try before scrunching up that paper and filing it under “G”. And instead of telling you “don’ts”, I’m going to try to keep it all in the “do” category šŸ™‚

1. Here’s one idea: do you remember having to write an essay in school, or maybe an article? One of the things your teacher might have told you to do was to try the “5 W’s”…who, what, when, where, why. If you haven’t covered all of these in your first verse, that may help you to expand upon your lyric in the second.

2. Refer to your chorus (if you have one)! The chorus is supposed to be the whole point of the song…use that main theme to get more ideas about where to go with the rest of the song. Verses work well if they all relate somehow to each other, and all to the chorus. I call these threads because of the idea of all of the verses “tying” together. The chorus can sometimes give you a clue as to how to expand upon your first verse and tie that in with your second.

3. Think of using a timeline, past, present and future. This may actually change the verse you already have a little…maybe you need to adjust it to be in the past tense. Tenses have to be used carefully, you can’t move all over the place in time without confusing the listener somewhat…so use with caution!

4. How about this? Make your first verse your second! Then write another first verse šŸ™‚ The point is that sometimes it’s just a psychological rut you’ve gotten yourself into, and moving the first verse to another position might get you out of it.

5. Ultimately, maybe you have nothing more to say. Maybe there isn’t enough of an idea for a song lyric. It’s not inconceivable to just dump what you have and start on another track! Again, it’s possible that you’ve just got yourself into a lyrical rut and starting fresh might help.

Yes, for some reason, it always seems to be that second verse that trips us up. Remember the old song “Henry the 8th”? After the first verse, he yells “second verse, same as the first!” Well, you don’t have to resort to that just yet šŸ™‚ Getting another objective opinion might also help…read to someone what you have so far and ask them what it makes them think. You might have to give them a songwriting credit, but if it means finishing the *&#$/!! thing, well, why not? Good luck!

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2 comments

  1. I always struggle with the second verse. Some times it helps to write out a longer version of what the first verse actually is saying in plain english… i feel it gives me a better understanding of the story then i write in plain engilsh what the next part of the story could be then work that back.

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