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Friday, October 2, 2009

Paul Simon's Song Lyrics and the Art of Fiction

I can't say it better than the title of this post: What the Short Story Writer can Learn from Paul Simon’s Lyrics, an essay by Phil Sandick, posted in June 2009, at Fiction Writers Review.

Based in part on Sandick's response to the release of Paul Simon's book, Lyrics 1964-2008 (Simon & Schuster, c2008), the article is an excellent overview of how Simon uses fiction writing techniques, including dialogue, characterization, and scene. "These lyrics read like a collection of short stories," says Sandick, and he justifies that statement with a thorough, engaging and convincing analysis.


  1. Hi Annie,
    Really interesting and engaging, and I must say convincing too. I didn't read the whole thing, but I loved what I read. Thank you.

  2. Hi Joanne,
    I thought the article was interesting and well-written. After reading several articles about song writing, I now realize the obvious: song writing = story telling. I'm thinking Billy Joel (not Billie Joe), Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, Joni Mitchell, The Shin's James Mercer, and just about any other artist you can name. It applies to most art as well, even when it's not an illustration, but a drawing or a painting. On some level, it's all story, involving mood, characterization (of person, place, or object), and specific detail. I always thought of song lyrics as poetry, and art as akin to poetry, but now I realize they are also story. (I may turn this reply into a post!)

  3. He is brilliant. The lyrics are shining... the sound of silence