I  guess I have only myself to blame, but when I gave a few hints on songwriting, it seems I really started something, because I just got politely chastised for not giving enough information.


I  guess I have only myself to blame, but when I gave a few hints on songwriting, it seems I really started something, because I just got politely chastised for not giving enough information.
 Well, I’m not an expert, but let’s see if we can help. Just don’t expect me to write a million-seller for you. That part is up to you.
To begin, remember the competition in this field is extremely tough and only getting tougher, but if you still want to write songs, maybe we can smooth out a couple of the rough spots almost every aspiring songwriter comes across.
First, you need to decide what to write about and, since almost all songs are about love, that part is pretty much decided for you.
You also want to be original, so don’t write a song called “Sing A Song of Sixpence.” It’s been done. So let’s look elsewhere.
Another rule is, try to make your song different.
How? By being different. For instance, if you want to express the thought the moon is out tonight, approach it from left field by saying something like “The day has hidden behind the night and spangled the sky with stars.” Picturesque, different —and you didn’t even mention the moon; you just implied it — and you can say “moon” later.
Now, about rhymes: Try to avoid a simple a, b, a, b, rhyme scheme. That’s been done to death and, if you use something else, your lyric will stand out because it’s different, and that’s what we’re looking for.
Explore your vocabulary; use “sound-alikes” that aren’t really rhymes.
All you need is a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. It’s available at any half-decent bookstore and may turn out to be the best investment you ever made because it’s crammed full of words you never heard of, but which you definitely will use.
If you can find a really good rhyming dictionary, that’ll help, too. Another extremely good source of help is ‘The Word Finder’ and ‘The Synonym Finder,’ published in a two-volume set by Rodale. It’s a gold mine.
But the real work is up to you.
You’re the one who decides if you’re going to write a “crazy ’bout you, baby” song, or a “dreaming in the midnight mist” song.
You’re the one who creates the situation, the one who decides how the situation will develop, whether it’s going to be a soft and silky kind of thing, a happy, sad, or even a silly thing and how you’re going to end all this neatly.
Will the guy get the girl? Will someone’s heart be broken?
Now that you have a few of the basic tools, you get down to what I call “the sweat factor.”
This is when you have everything more or less lined up in your mind and need to string it all together, arranging everything in a logical sequence so it flows as smoothly as warm syrup.
Take my word.
This isn’t easy, and the most difficult part of all is avoiding what’s known as writing “dum-de-dum” — an ordinary song.
This also is where you learn it really is hard work.
For example, almost anyone can write a “June, moon, tune” song, but very few can write lyrics like “All the Things You Are,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or almost anything by Cole Porter. 
So, dive right in. Give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and the ball is now in your court.
And after you’ve beat your head against a brick wall or two and finally come up with what you think is a perfect combination of words and music, then you have to hope like crazy the public likes it.
In other words, you gotta be lucky — very lucky.
Now, how can you thank me for all this good advice?
Well, just for practice, put the next few lines to music.
“Write a hit song very cleverly
I hope you make a million, or two or three
With a little left over for me,
For me;
A little left over for me.”
(Which you may note is definitely not an a,b,a,b, scheme.)

     Mike Morton writes each week for the Kansan. He can be reached at m24r24fm8445@att.net. Mike’s book, “On The Loose Collection, Volume One,” is on sale in Newton at the Kansan, 121 W. Sixth St.; and Anderson Book and Office Supply, 627 N. Main St.