One step forward?

Yesterday I got a song I sent for evaluation returned. Today I’m going to share this evaluation with you, even though it makes me feel a bit vulnerable, due to some embarrassing mistakes. Still, I started this blog to get better in my craft and to share what happens to me with you, the readers. This is done in the hope that some of my experiences will be useful to you and your learning curve.

 

The lyric I got back yesterday is one that has done well for me in competitions. In the UK Songwriting Competition it was what they call “a border- line finalist” with 8 points, obviously this makes it a semi-finalist. Nothing more and nothing less.
The evaluation wasn’t bad, but it brought up similar issues from before; I don’t put enough meat on the bones when it comes to my story. The positive thing the evaluator said, was that I have a real talent when it comes to describing feelings. These were the exact words: “That said, you do have a penchant/talent for capturing heartbreak in the simplest of lyrics. That is a gift and not a learned talent, and you should nurture that.”
One thing that hit home and sank in from yesterdays evaluation was being told to get rid of the clichés or things that no one really would say in person. The evaluator said: “I know you are clever enough to find different ways to say these phrases in a way that has your own stamp on them.” I know this is going to sound really stupid, but yesterday was the first time I had ever realised how much more fun it would be to find my own clever ways of saying something, rather than use expressions so well known that they feel tired, even though they are very easy to reach for. I obviously, now and again, do find my own original expressions. That I’m very happy about. A lot of the time, though, I am too quick when writing, and use the first expression that pops in my mind. This is one thing I need to change.

 

When it comes to things no one would actually say when talking, I think I’m at a bit of a dis-advantage due to English being my second language. Sometimes some expressions sound better to me, then it does for a native. As I translated my expressions to Swedish I recognised that I would never say anything like that, so from now on that will be a pattern of mine. I will be saying the same thing in Swedish and if it sounds ridiculous there, I will know the same goes in English. The problem for people like myself who use English as their second language, is that most things, in our ears, sound really good in English. Whether or not it is good practise to use some expressions, they still sound so much better in English than in Swedish.
There were some grammar mistakes in the lyrics too, which is quite embarrassing. Especially surprising was the fact that no one before this evaluation had picked up and commented on my using the word “weary” when I meant “dreary”. The weather, which I was talking about, can’t be weary. Still, no one around me or any one judging in various competitions had commented on what to me is a serious mistake. I know some grammar issues are allowed to fall under the famous “poetic rights rule” and be accepted, but the use of the wrong word with a totally different meaning is not one of those.
Yesterday I wrote a new version of the lyrics in question, as suggested. I have added a bridge, to put more meat on the bones of the story, and I have changed a few clichés. I have shown you the original version before, in a blog I called Ideas https://asasfingerprints.blog/2018/02/28/ideas/  but I will put it in again so you can compare and see what changes I made. I have to say it is much easier changing the lyric if I have the melody. Without music I seem to be stuck in the tempo of the words and it is harder to find fresh ways of expressing something. Anyway, here are the two versions.
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!

Åsa
Alone (Semi-finalist in UKSC 2016)
The cold, empty feeling
when something is gone.
Too late to start over,
too soon to move on.

The joy of our meetings
has faded away.
If I’d seen it happen,
I’d asked it to stay.

Chorus
It feels like I’m standing
in the eye of the storm.
It’s cold and it’s weary,
I’m too numb to keep warm.
’cause deep down I know that it’s over,
and I’m all alone once again.

I miss being quiet
with you by my side.
Show weakness and sadness,
forget about pride.

To laugh about nothing,
to know what you think.
It’s all in the past now,
it went in a blink.

Chorus
©Åsa Sandberg 2016

 

ALONE (New version)

My life, as I knew it,
is suddenly gone.
Too late to start over,
too soon to move on.

The fun, happy moments
have faded away.
If I’d seen this coming,
I’d have tried to delay.

Chorus
It feels like I’m walking,
with no coat in a storm.
It’s cold and it’s dreary,
I’m too numb to keep warm.
’cause deep down I know that it’s over,
and I’m all alone once again.

I miss being quiet
with you by my side.
To show weakness and sadness,
forget about pride.

To laugh about nothing,
to know what you think.
It’s all in the past now,
it went in a blink.

Bridge
A few months from now, your new name will be dad.
You told me last night, with a “please don’t be mad”.
It should have been us, I should have been the mum.
We hoped for so long, but now our end has come.

REPEAT CHORUS

©2016/2018 Åsa Sandberg

 

 

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