33 thoughts on “Guest post: Song-writing by short story author Jane Risdon

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Morgan – Thank you for hosting Jane – she’s such a delight.

    Jane – Thanks for such a fascinating look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of songwriting. I see a lot of similarities between song creation and story creation. There is, it seems to me, a balance in both cases between the sorts of structure that are necessary to frame the creation, and the innovation and, well, creativity that keeps each song (or story) new. This is really interesting!

    Like

    • Jane Risdon says:

      Margot, I thought you would tune into the connection with story telling and how a writer works. It is very similar. Of course once you write a lyric or a chapter one would continue to try and get is as best as one could, using simple words and and repetition to imprint a melody and chorus in the case of a song and, simple sentences and descriptions to keep a reader hooked and wanting to turn the page….all about building to a climax and that cliff-hanger. Thanks Margot, your input is always appreciated.

      Like

    • Dave Wise says:

      Writer Dave Wise Here! Jane, great post, learned a little about the songwriting industry.
      I just watched a video of the Ultimate Elvis Impersonator Contest in Memphis. Some were good but there was only ONE ELVIS! I followed his career from 1955. I was only 17 years old. Yes, I was young once! Presley’s songs followed you basic structure for songs.All that was needed was the Presley interpretation and the raw singing talent. He wrote some of his songs and Leiber and Stoller wrote a few of his big hits.
      There are many parallels between songwriting and novel writing.
      Thanks Jane for the post and thanks to Morgen for bringing it to us.

      Like

      • Jane RisdonJ says:

        Dave, thanks so much for taking time to come and read all this. i never know if anyone will find it interesting or get bored to death when I ramble on about stuff. Just a little bit of info for you. One of our acts played Las Vegas at the Hilton hotel and we spent the whole time there saying ‘Elvis has left the building,’ every time we left. It was a thrill to be in the same place as he had been – I think they have knocked it down now. I used to love Elvis. An uncle was the dead spit of him when younger and he used the hair brush as the mic and I was the Jordanaires and we used to sing all his hits in front of the mirror.

        Many years ago we did some Hippodrome shows and one was the 10th anniversary of Elvis’s death and there was a stage show in the West End called Forever Elvis…we had the main Elvis character, a great singer in his own right, perform the show for us at the club with his backing vocalists (the real Jordanaires) and Elvis Presley’s step brother came and did the MC for us. We also had three girl singers who were just like the Andrews Sisters. It was an amazing night. the Elvis Presley fan club came out in force dressed for the 1950’s and rock and rolled their way though the whole show (audience). Fab days.

        Like

  2. Books & Art - Spirit & Soul - Lesley Fletcher says:

    Very interesting sight inside the industry a bit. I had submitted a song for consideration and received a lovely reply that they don’t just take anyone and I was gifted. 🙂 They only wanted $260.00 to put my lyrics to music so they could shop it around to the big names 😀 Oh the learning curves are sometimes steeper than I am willing to climb. Thanks Jane – Morgen.

    Like

    • Jane Risdon says:

      Lesley, studio’s will do this often – put music to the lyrics and produce a demo. However it gets a bit messy when working out who owns what parts of the song/track as publishing splits need sorting out before it gets shopped anywhere. Also, the producers often do have good contacts in the industry, so it is a case of considering the options and making decisions based on what you know about the producers and the quality of their contacts. If you pay for the recording at least you own that particular copy (arrangement) of the song and can then use it. If they pay for recording then the actual recording belongs to them as well as their contribution to the writing/composition. Mine-field.

      Like

  3. Nicky Wells says:

    Wow, what an awesome post! Jane is such a fabulous source of information and insight into this fascinating industry, and I’m always left wanting more, more, more. I greatly enjoyed this post as ‘how do your songs come about’ is one of my most frequently asked questions of any musician/rock band I get to meet, and Jane’s answer sheds a shining light on this creative process. Loved every word and can’t help thinking of the analogies in demands and pressure between song writing and novel writing. Thank you, Jane, and thanks to Morgen for hosting!

    Like

    • Jane RisdonJ says:

      Nicky, glad you found this of interest. I spent my life – so it seems – telling young writers all these things. Working in studios and with writers and singers it is interesting how the whole song comes together. Singers approach songs in a different way to the writers, however, a singer songwriter writes for their own voice and so knows exactly how they want to emote the song. A songwriter knows how they want to emote the song and then has to find the singer for it who is closest to their ideas, or if writing for someone in particular, has to hope the singer loves the song as much as they do and can do it justice. Then the whole production has to somehow bring the very best of the song and the singer out…..it is a fascinating process not unlike writing a book…..all the same things need consideration….market, genre, how to gain the attention of the listener from the get-go and how to keep them hooked so they come back for more…..

      Like

    • Jane Risdon says:

      Nicky, glad you found this of interest. I spent my life – so it seems – telling young writers all these things. Working in studios and with writers and singers it is interesting how the whole song comes together. Singers approach songs in a different way to the writers, however, a singer songwriter writes for their own voice and so knows exactly how they want to emote the song. A songwriter knows how they want to emote the song and then has to find the singer for it who is closest to their ideas, or if writing for someone in particular, has to hope the singer loves the song as much as they do and can do it justice. Then the whole production has to somehow bring the very best of the song and the singer out…..it is a fascinating process not unlike writing a book…..all the same things need consideration….market, genre, how to gain the attention of the listener from the get-go and how to keep them hooked so they come back for more

      Like

  4. Jane Risdon says:

    I see lots of people have ‘liked,’ the article or have commented, so I just want to say thank you to each and every person who has taken the time to visit here, or on my own blog, to either leave a comment or a ‘like.’ I really appreciate your feed-back and likes more than I can say. I am sure Morgen really appreciates her efforts being acknowledged by seeing your comments. She works so hard to enable authors to share their work with you all. Thanks Morgen especially. 🙂

    Like

    • Jane Risdon says:

      Samantha so happy you found it interesting. Are you into song writing? Have you written any? Would love to know. Thanks so much for popping over and commenting. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Like

  5. Samantha Wilcox says:

    I don’t think I have – perhaps I did as a teen. I used to like to write out song words already written by others and send them to friends in the post if I remember! I also used to make up my own words and sing them in place of a song’s lyrics (I’m sure I cracked a few tiles around the shower 😀 I like to write poems. Chat soon.

    Like

  6. Jane Risdon says:

    Morgen, thanks for tweeting this recently. Much appreciated. I’d forgotten all about it. The time has flown so quickly. I am so happy to see this blog doing so well, and you. I keep meaning to come and do some FF or something but I am become a bit overwhelmed when I see all the options and guidance for submitting. Just me being lazy. I am sure I shall overcome soon. Keep up your splendid work. Jane xx

    Like

We'd love you to leave a comment, thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.