I have a five part philosophy that I've been developing over the last couple years. One of the parts is 'The Story Is Bigger Than The Song.' It basically means that I can write the best song in the world and play it for someone but it's highly unlikely that they will connect with the song on the very first listen. It's the story around the song that people connect to. The summer they spent houseboating listening to the same album 1000 times. That one song that defines a relationship. The song that defines a single night. But the song is only a part of those stories. For the listener The Story Is Bigger Than The Song.
For a song to really resonate with a listener's story the song itself needs a strong story. This is where Pat Pattison's three boxes technique comes into play. The three boxes basically represent the three acts of the song. The first box describes the idea. The second box builds on the idea. The third box adds a new level of meaning and wraps up the first two boxes in a tidy package. It allows you to think of the story of the song without needing to worry about rhymes or line length right away.
I had a lyric lying around that was said by one of my daughter's friends as they were getting ready to go home after a play date. "I don't like coming here 'cause I don't like leaving". What she was saying was "I have so much fun here I'd almost rather not come over for a visit because it's so sad when I leave".
Here is the outline I did using Pat Pattison's 3 Boxes.
I love the great times we have here dancing with just you and me but I don't like coming here 'cause I don't like leaving.
(Describes the fun similar to how my daughter's friend felt. There was so much fun to be had she didn't want to leave.)
It's so great here at this family gathering. Our kids and friends all around it's a wonderful time but I don't like coming here 'cause I don't like leaving.
(Builds on that idea from box one because now there is fun with family and kids. The story has expanded from just the two of them.)
The time we spent toghether, just you and I with our family, were the happiest of my life and there is nothing I like better than sitting here remembering them with you. But now all I can do is leave the flowers at your headstone I don't like coming here 'cause I don't like leaving.
(Ties in the previous two boxes by showing the full time they spent together but brings in the double meaning of leaving where the singer doesn't like leaving the gravesite but also doesn't like that their spouse has done the leaving as well.)
It's a little sad I know but it's not nearly as sad as draft one where box two was time they spent together in the hospice where the spouse was dying. I felt this current version of box two gave the third act a bit more impact.
There is no song yet. There is no lyrics yet. But now that you know how the story goes I'm hoping you're intrigued enough to hear the song when it gets written.
Then when you do hear the song you can share it with your friends and tell them about how you read this article before the song was completed. And now you are completely intertwined with the song because the Story Is Bigger Than The Song.