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How Paul Weller and The Jam can help writers improve their writing

Do you want to make your writing more “real” to your readers?

Well, you can – by borrowing from the powerful yet brief descriptive style of singer-songwriter Paul Weller.

The Jam T shirt

I first “got into” Weller’s lyrics – as a  huge fan of the band The Jam.

I played in uni  bands in Australia –  with a big UK influence!

Egg 1

Eugene and the Egg copy copy

 

I loved the music of the Jam and the “intelligence” and novelistic detail of Paul Weller’s  lyrics.

One of my favourite Jam songs is That’s Entertainment – for the lyrics.

It’s not like the usual energetic and electric  Jam songs. Musically, it is quite pedestrian (compared to their other songs) – but lyrically it is brilliant!

It’s acoustic with just light percussion and “easy” lyrics that flowed quickly to Weller.

Weller says he just described what was going on around him.

The lyrics describe the non-glamorous working-class life and what passes for entertainment.

jam on Mod parka

What appeals to me about the lyrics – and what YOU can use to make your writing more REAL is:

1. how the descriptions appeal to  many senses – especially smells and sounds

2. The use of the sound of words – a device called onomatopoeia  –  where the word sounds like its meaning

3. The understatement where the reader “fills in the blanks” as to what’s happening. The reader adds more meaning and gets “involved” in co-creating the work.

These days I work as a writing coach and trainer. I still enjoy my Jam and Paul Weller music – any my parka!

word nerd CU

TB Parka

I’ll attach a link the full lyrics to That’s Entertainment  for you to “study”.

As you read the lyrics, I encourage you to note (and borrow the techniques of)

1. the use of many senses – especially smells and sounds

Some of my favourite lines in the lyrics put me in the scene where I can hear the sounds and smell the smells.

Sounds such as:

a screamin’ siren

a baby wailing, a stray dog howling

the screech of brakes, a lamplight blinking

A smash of glass, the rumble of boots

Evocative smells such as:

breathing in petrol

stale perfume

2. The use of the sound of words

Sound affects us!

The word screech sounds like a screech of brakes – the same with words smash and rumble.

Even the word blink – sounds like the sound  a blinking lamplight makes.

3. The understatement where the reader “fills in the blanks” as to what’s happening.

The reader adds more meaning and gets “involved” in co-creating the work.

What do YOU think  has happened when you hear the smash of glass and then the rumble of boots?

TB cafe parka

For me, I supply the extra detail and imagine a scene of a brick or a rock going through a shop window – a quick snatch of some “goods”  – then the rumble of boots as the thieves run away.

Maybe you create a different story.

To me, the boots are Doc Martens and  there’s a gang running down a street with their stolen goods.

My point is – the economy of the lyrics, the use of SMASH and RUMBLE helps create a scene.

Jam That's Entertainment

Here’s a link to another Paul Weller inspired post.

Get your year off to a better Start!

Also, here are links to more writing tips that can make your writing more “real” and engaging – and even entertaining!

I’m getting 2014 off to s strong start with my blogging too and I’ll share in a future post what YOU can learn from Paul Weller’s powerful descriptive writing

If you’d like to improve your writing: Here are some quick tips.

1.Release The Verb

2.How nouns can save your butt!

3.Use visual language

4.Parallel Structure

TB headline technique

Here’s a link to the full lyrics:http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jam/thatsentertainment.html

And here’s a link to a video of the song:

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

everest

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

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tony biancotti

@tonybiancotti

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