American singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift, is well-known for the narrative approach in her music. She burst on the scene with her debut album “Taylor Swift” on October 24, 2006. Much can be gained in examining the magic and the strategic writing techniques behind her #1 songs and albums.
Write What You Know:
It is no secret that much of what Taylor Swift writes and sings about is something personal. It is her ability to tap into the parts of life most people keep private. Swift, writes about those experiences in such a way that it directly relates to listeners which has catapulted her into one of the top selling recording artists on the billboard charts. For the aspiring writer, it is much the same. When a writer begins to create the character, place, setting, action sequences, and/or the relationships transpiring between the central and secondary characters, the best start is to reflect on the good and the bad memories one has experienced, and draw from personal experiences.
Make Your Work Relatable:
Much of Taylor Swift’s life seems like an open book told through a portal of lyrics. Each of her top-selling albums have some general theme her songs are centered around. These fiery, passionate themes continue to drive record sells and amass fans far and wide. Themes are a critical factor in story-telling. A novel is much like an album in following a series of events driven by the people and emotions who carry both the story and the reader from beginning to end. The author must ensure the reader feels connected to the story unfolding. A great technique to help facilitate the theme of a novel are pre-writing techniques, such as brainstorming and/or mind-mapping. The desired theme of the story should be at the center of the diagram and supporting action scenes, character attributes, and/or scene setting branching off that connect back to the central theme.
Shorter is Better:
Writers tend to fall into a word well. The deep pit of writing long, flowing, pretty sentences where the reader gets lost and loses interest amidst a barrage of eloquent words. Although, these lines may be artsy and creative they slow the reader down. It slows the momentum of the story and will lose readers every time. Taylor Swift has a short window to tell the story, to connect and resonate with the listener, and keep the station from being changed to another song. A story should be composed of short, direct sentences that make a big impact. Using less words with the intention of a big impact keeps up the pace and the reader turning the pages. This is an area that is crucial during the editing and revision process. Yes, it is painful to cut those beautiful sentences, but sometimes it must happen. In the long run, it probably didn’t strengthen the story or fit into the overall context anyway.
Regardless, of whether the writing is condensed, lyrical prose or the epic novel, the techniques and pre-writing habits of Taylor Swift are some of the essential components in drafting a strong, captivating story that will keep readers invested in an author’s work.