Have you got an idea for a song? Jotted down some thoughts? Got a tune in mind? Here is a way to vet and refine your lyrics to make your ideas really stand out. When you hear something that's described with great imagery, you can picture or feel what the song is communicating really well. Do you want your own songs to communicate strongly? Using imagery and language with a little knowledge can help you raise the quality of your lyrics significantly.

Great metaphors make it possible to evoke a lot with few words-something a good song will succeed in doing. Metaphors smash together two sense items that don't belong together. Metaphors cannot be literally true. In this article we're going to look at three types of metaphor.

Expressed Identity Metaphors
Connects two nouns and says one is the other. A table is a static ship. Hunger is a forceful hurricane. The tv is a portal. They come in 3 forms – X is Y – Hunger is a forceful hurricane.

  • the Y of X - The forceful hurricane of hunger.
  • X's Y – Hunger's forceful hurricane.

Now come up with an expressed identity metaphor yourself and run through all the three forms.

Qualifying metaphor
This form uses adjectives to qualify nouns, and adverbs to qualify verbs. The disjunction creates a metaphor.
e.g savage river, to cook blindly.

Verbal metaphor
Formed by a fight between the verb and its subject or objecte.g. the sail sang, the evening swallowed the sun, she interrogated the fridge.

Word groups – a great way to come up with metaphors.
Words have relationships with other words that are related in meaning. Choose a word and find a set related to it. Often you can create a good metaphor from words that are both related to another word – words that when combined can suggest some third thing the two words have in common.

You can ask:
What characteristic does my idea have?
What else has those characteristics?

Having groups of words helps gather material to create effective metaphors with. Now make a list of adjectives and a list of nouns. This is a great activity to try out with a writing partner. Consider each combination. Choose one and try to write a sentence or short paragraph from it. Unplanned combinations can release some great ideas. Repeat with nouns and verbs.

About the author: Diana de Cabarrus is an artist and teacher of guitar, songwriting and singing in Edinburgh. She releases albums under the name Candythief UK. Find her on www.keytomusicnorth.com and www.candythief.com