I have always been in love with beautiful language – and lyrical writing produces some of the most breathtaking sentences in all of literature.
Here is what you need to know about lyrical writing:
In its simplest form, lyrical writing is the use of language to create an effect. This can be done through metaphors, similes, alliteration, and other potent literary techniques. Lyrical writing is evocative, emotion-infused, and dynamic. It borrows from both poetry and songwriting.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about lyrical writing.
What Is Lyrical Writing?
Lyrical writing is a form of creative expression that uses the rhythm, meter, and rhyme of poetry to tell a story or convey a message.
It often takes the form of a song or poem, but can also be found in prose and drama.
Lyrical writing often uses metaphor and simile to create vivid images and can be very emotional and moving. The best lyrical writing is both beautiful and meaningful, with a strong emotional resonance that speaks to the reader on a deep level.
Lyrical writing can be traced back to the ancient oral tradition of storytelling.
In this tradition, stories were memorized and recited rather than written down, and they were often accompanied by music or rhyme to help with memorization.
This oral tradition was passed down from generation to generation, and over time the stories became more elaborate and poetic.
Some of the first recorded examples of lyrical writing come from ancient Sumeria and Egypt – poems were inscribed on clay tablets. The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest surviving works of literature, is an example of early lyrical writing.
Lyrical writing reached its height during the Romantic era in the 18th and 19th centuries.
This was a time when artists and writers sought to express emotion and feeling in their work, in contrast to the rationalism of the Enlightenment.
Poets such as William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats used lyrical writing to explore themes such as love, death, nature, and imagination.
Their work was hugely influential and helped to shape the course of poetry for generations to come.
Today, lyrical writing is still hugely popular, both in poetry and prose. It continues to be used as a way of expressing emotions and telling stories in a beautiful and moving way.
13 Easy Lyrical Writing Tips for Beginners
Here are 13 lyrical writing tips I’ve been using since I first started writing over 20 years ago.
These techniques have stood the test of time and I find them especially useful for beginner writers who are just learning to flex their creative muscles.
1) Use Elements of Poetry
Lyrical writing is a type of writing that uses elements of poetry to create a more musical effect.
While lyrical writing can be found in all genres, it is often associated with poetry and songwriting. When used in fiction, lyrical writing can help to create a more atmospheric and emotive tone.
In a way, this is a meta tip, since many of the other techniques connect back to poetry.
2) Leverage Imagery and Metaphor
Lyrical writing often relies on strong imagery and metaphor to create its effect.
In lyrics, poets often use rhyme and meter to create a more musical flow. This can also be seen in fiction, where lyrical writers will often use language that is rich in detail and sensory images.
By evoking the senses, lyrical writers can help readers to feel more connected to the characters and story.
3) Go Personal
Lyrical writing often has a more personal feel than other types of writing.
This is because lyrics are often written from a first-person perspective, which allows writers to explore their own emotions and experiences in a more intimate way.
Lyrical writing can also be used to write about larger themes and issues, such as love, loss, and social injustice.
By using their own lives as examples, lyrical writers can give readers a new perspective on these topics.
4) Get in the Flow
Once you have your topic, it’s time to start writing.
The best way to do this is to simply let the words flow out of your mind and onto the paper. Don’t worry about making mistakes or whether or not what you’re writing is any good.
Just keep writing until the story, poem, or song is finished.
The flow state is where lyrical writing is born and borne, lifted up and levied, hammered down and heated into an inferno of thought and imagery.
5) Tell a Story
A great way to capture lyrical writing is to tell a story with your lyrics.
This can be done by using narrative techniques such as flashbacks and foreshadowing. In the context of story, lyrical writing flourishes because it has boundaries against which to bank and ricochet.
6) Be Specific
It’s important to be specific when you write in a lyrical style.
Vague descriptions will leave your listeners feeling confused and unengaged. Be as clear as possible while still maintaining an interesting lyrical flow.
Keep reading to see some real life examples of lyrical prose.
7) Listen to the Sound
The sound of your writing is important.
When writing in a lyrical style, read your words out loud or have a human-sounding AI text-to-speech bot read it to you. The sound of your voice will help to create the right atmosphere and mood for your writing.
It will also ensure that your words flow smoothly and rhythmically.
So, take the time to listen to the sound of your writing, and let it guide you to create something truly beautiful.
8) Play With Language
Don’t be afraid to experiment with language in your writing.
Try using different word choices, sentence structures, and points of view to add variety to your writing. Play is another doorway into the flow of lyrical writing.
Experiment with the symbols of your craft.
In the writing phase, don’t concern yourself so much with proper grammar and syntax.
9) Repeat Certain Words and Phrases.
Repetition is another key element of lyrical prose.
By repeating certain words and phrases, you can create a sense of rhythm and verses that mimics the effect of music.
Here’s a quick example:
The night was so still, so very still. The moon didn’t move, not even a sliver. Not a breath of wind disturbed the leaves of the trees. The stars were so bright, so very bright.
They didn’t twinkle, not even a little. All was silent, all was still.
It was as if the world was holding its breath, waiting for something to happen. And then, suddenly, there was a sound. A sound that broke the spell and woke the world from its slumber. The night was no longer still, no longer silent. The moon began to move, and the stars began to twinkle. The world had begun to spin again.
10) Play with Alliteration and Assonance
Alliteration refers to the repetition of first sounds, whereas assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds inside a word.
- The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us.
- A proper copper coffee pot.
While assonance is:
- The sound of the river rushing over the rocks was soothing, and the setting sun painted the sky in a spectrum of colors.
- The chorus of frogs croaking in the distance was music to my ears.
Both of these techniques can be used to create a musical quality in your writing.
11) Use Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia is when words mimic the sounds they describe.
This can be an effective way to add interest and dimension to your writing. Examples abound in popular stories, comic books, and screenplays.
Words like sizzle and bark are great examples.
When you read the word “bark” or “growl,” you can picture a dog making a deep, guttural noise.
12) Use Rhyme
Rhyme is one of the most commonly used poetic devices, and it can also be employed in prose writing.
Even if you only use occasional rhyming words, this can help to give your writing a sing-song quality. Like any other technique, you don’t want to overdo it.
13) Be Aware of the Rhythm of Your Words
In order to create a songlike feel in your prose, you need to be aware of the rhythm of your words.
This means paying attention to the number of syllables in each line and the way that the lines flow together. Unless you are a poet or songwriter, this will probably be new to you.
Give yourself patience as you learn this form of awareness.
Trust me, it will only improve your prose.
Here is a good video that explains lyrical prose:
Lyrical Writing Examples
If you learn best by examples (like me), here are five good ones.
The rain pattered gently against the window panes, a lullaby to soothe the brokenhearted. T
The melody of the drops, falling in time with her racing heartbeat, was a balm to her tattered emotions. She welcomed the reprieve that the storm brought, unknowing that it would be temporary.
The relief was like a shot of whiskey, numbing the pain for just long enough to catch her breath.
In the morning, the storm would pass and she would have to face the wreckage of her life once again. But for now, she could just breathe.
And that was enough.
The wind was a whisper, barely stirring the leaves on the trees.
It was a peaceful evening, and the moon was just a sliver in the sky. The stars were out, shining bright. The crickets were chirping, and the frogs were croaking.
All was right with the world.
Suddenly, there was a rustling in the bushes. The peace was broken by the sound of twigs snapping.
Something was definitely out there, lurking in the darkness. I froze, heart racing, not knowing what to do.
Then, out of nowhere, a rabbit appeared.
It hopped into the clearing and stopped, looking around with its shiny black eyes. After a moment, it turned and looked at me. We locked eyes for what felt like forever.
Then, as if nothing had happened, it turned and hopped away into the night.
I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding and laughed at myself. I was jumpy tonight for sure. But that wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying this beautiful evening.
I took a deep breath of the cool night air and smiled up at the stars.
All was right with the world once again.
The best way to beat the heat is by taking a dip in the pool.
Plunging into the pool, I feel the waves lap at my legs. The water is freezing cold, but it’s a relief from the blistering heat outside. I dive down deep, swimming laps until my muscles are tired.
Then I float on my back, letting the water support me as I gaze up at the blue sky overhead.
I close my eyes and listen to the sound of the water, feeling my body relax. After a while, I get out of the pool and sit in the sun, letting my skin dry off.
The heat feels good against my wet body, and I close my eyes, enjoying the moment.
The rain patters gently against the windowpanes, a lulling melody that makes my eyelids heavy.
I curl up on the sofa, letting out a contented sigh as I watch the water run down the glass in rivulets. The room is cozy, the fire crackling in the hearth sending a warm glow throughout the space.
And as I drift off to sleep, I can hear the raindrops splashing against the ground outside, accompanied by the thrum of thunder in the distance.
It’s a peaceful sound, one that always makes me feel safe and loved.
In moments like these, I purr with happiness and contentment, knowing that this is exactly where I’m meant to be.
This example is from the bestselling lyrical writer, Dean Koontz, and his novel, The Big Dark Sky:
In every life there are strange coincidences, occurrences that we find inexplicable, and even moments that seem supernatural. On this occasion, in the lonely vastness of Montanna, the heavens were moonless, the blind face of the night pressed against the windows, the only light in the room issued from television, and a young girl sat in communion with the dead.
Lyrical Writing vs. Purple Prose
When it comes to writing, there are many different styles that can be used to create a piece that is both beautiful and effective.
Two of these styles are lyrical writing and purple prose.
Though they may have some similarities, there are also several key ways in which they differ.
Lyrical writing is defined by its use of language that is beautiful and poetic. The goal of this style is to create a piece that is emotionally moving and evocative.
In many cases, lyrical writing will include metaphors and other figurative language in order to create an impactful image in the reader’s mind.
Purple prose, on the other hand, is defined by its use of language that is overly ornate and flowery.
This style often employs excessive adjectives and convoluted sentence structures in order to achieve its desired effect. While purple prose can sometimes be seen as overly dramatic or even comical, it can also be used effectively to create a sense of grandeur or mystery.
So, what are the similarities between these two styles?
Both lyrical writing and purple prose seek to create an emotional response in the reader, whether that be through beauty or drama.
They also both make use of language in order to achieve their effects.
However, the key difference lies in the way that they use language. Lyrical writing uses language in a way that is elegant and understated, while purple prose uses language in a way that is excessive and often difficult to understand.
As a result, lyrical writing tends to be more effective at creating an emotional response in the reader.
3 Hidden Dangers of Writing Lyrical Prose
While lyrical writing can be beautiful and evocative, it can also be dangerous.
Here are three dangers to watch out for:
- Distracting the reader. Lyrical writing can be so flowery and complex that it actually distracts from the story being told. Instead of being immersed in the narrative, the reader becomes bogged down in deciphering the meaning of the words. This is especially true if the author overuses metaphor and simile.
- Going over the top. Another danger of lyrical writing is that it’s easy to go overboard. A little bit of description can be evocative, but too much can quickly become tedious. In addition, if an author relies too heavily on flowery language, it can actually take away from the emotional impact of the story.
- Taking away from the story. One final danger of lyrical writing is that, if overdone, it can actually take away from the story as a whole. In a well-written narrative, the details should enhance the plot, not overshadow it. If lyrical passages start to dominate the story, it’s likely that they are doing more harm than good.
Lyrical writing can be a beautiful and effective tool, but it’s important to use it sparingly and with caution.
When used correctly, it can add another layer of depth and emotion to a story. But when used excessively, it can quickly become cumbersome and distracting.
As with anything else, moderation is key.
Final Thoughts: Lyrical Prose
Lyrical writing is not just about pretty language; it is also about finding new ways to express yourself.
If you are looking for a more creative and expressive way to write, then lyricism may be the writing style for you. Of course, there are many other tools and tricks to writing.
We have a lot of articles on this site to help.
- Body Swap Writing (Ultimate Guide for Beginners)
- Demon Writing (Ultimate Guide for Beginners)
- What Is Shadow Writing? (Ultimate Guide for Beginners)
Berkely Univerisity on Lyrics
Williams.edu (Lyrics and Literature)