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The Songwriter's Idea Book by Sheila Davis

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STRATEGY TWENTY - SEVENBreaking Up as Plot Device

Tell It Like It Is

Some breakup songs clearly spring from biographical material. Some spring from pure imagination. Others fuse the two. It's certainly not required of a writer to have lived a song. Yet, to engage the empathy of an audience, it is required of a writer to tell the truth about human nature. Paul Simon puts it this way, “I try to begin … with some statement that is true … something that actually happened or something that I really feel .… Then it's easier to go from that to a universal feeling.”

Under the heading “breakup songs,” can be included the various phases that lead up to a confrontation or actual leave-taking as well as the post-mortem period that may continue long after ...

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