The first thing we need to address when we think of lyric writing concepts is exactly where we are in the writing process. There are three pillars to a song: lyrics, melody, and harmony or chord progression. And while it might be obvious, the order in which we create each pillar affects the next one dramatically. Therefore, there is no cute and tidy, one size fits all approach to lyrics, but a pliable, constantly evolving approach that reflects where we are in the song process.
A very high percentage of the aspiring songwriters who contact me got their beginnings writing verse. It is important to note that verse is not a lyric. Poetry stands alone, and each syllable creates the meter that gives the language its rhythmic context. In a lyric, depending on the melody it’s set to, there can be more than one note per syllable, and even several notes depending on the style. In addition, melody introduces the concept of timing, which means a word resting on a note could be held for more than one count, maybe even more than one measure. As a result, it can be a challenge considering a lyric apart from the melody that will express it.