Songwriting Tips For Writing A Great Second Verse

writing second verses -SongTown

Writing a great second verse is often the difference in a good song and a killer song. Here’s are my tips for leveling-up your second verses.

Map out an outline of the song as soon as you decide on a hook.

Knowing where you are going helps you avoid saying too much before you get to the 2nd verse. Second verses are not that difficult if you have planned out what you are going to say in advance and you avoid saying those things earlier in the song.  A map will help you do that.

Say ONE thing in each verse that supports your hook.

Don’t try to say 5 different things in the verse. Say one thing and elaborate on it to develop it well. If you communicate one clear message, you’ve done your job.

When writing a second verse answer the question “And then what?”

Think of your song this way: First Verse says “This happened” Chorus says “Because…” Second Verse answers “And then…”

Don’t settle when writing second verses.

Let your goal be making the 2nd verse even stronger than the first. If you keep people engaged and listening to the second verse and you knock that verse out of the park, you’ve probably written a really good song!

Write on! MD


Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting.

18 thoughts on “Songwriting Tips For Writing A Great Second Verse

  1. Thanks for the great advise Marty, I sometimes forget that a song is like a three minute movie with a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes with the ” What If ” section…(bridge or middle eight) drives the hook home with options…

  2. This is for Bri Hopper, the 12 year old writer! Good for you ! Starting early!
    Kid writers write some great songs!!! The things you’re going thru are also experienced by many other kids too! You’ll have an edge by starting young! Make sure to keep your songs in order though, so you can find them when you need them. Alphabetize them…Don’t wait until you have 100 songs to start filing them… I know… I’m still trying to get organized…write on!😊🎶🙏💖

  3. This happened/because/and then what is extremely helpful – I’ve written it down and will use it for every song from now on! Thank you so much Marty!

    Roberta Smithline

  4. I love writing with people who understand this concept. It really does make writing the song, so much easier! I also love it when explaining it to someone who hasn’t done a map before. It’s neat to see their face light up with an aha! moment.

    Thanks Marty!

  5. Good insights, simple and to the point. So glad we found and joined SongTown. If I may share a tip a good friend shared with me years ago; and he is a HIT BMI songwriter. “Donnie,” he said, “imagine you are sitting in a boat near the shoreline and I ask you to write a song about the boat you are occupying. Moreover, don’t write about the nearby shoreline or anything outside of the boat. In other words my friend, (stay in the boat), and make a list of details that interest you or may be unique to said boat; and then write your first verse.”

    One I began to apply his insights, my songwriting skills improved and years later I scored (two) number ONE hit songs and (1) top twenty hits. For privacy reasons, I haven’t shared my friends name nor my songs.

    Enough of that, I hope his sage-insights will help and inspire other writers to employ what has been shared.

    All is well.

  6. I’ve got to try this method because I have a few songs which the first verse is really out of the park but I can’t come up with a second verse that comes close to the first. I have another that I only have the chorus (it’s a great chorus with a knock out theme but I can’t put the verses together yet). I’m going to go back to the drawing board with your theory and see what comes out. Thanks.

  7. This was a huge help to me and I just wanted to say thank you. Music comes pretty easy but lyrics have always been effort. The advice has helped me finish two new songs in short order and they were more fun to write and better communicated pieces as a result.
    Very grateful!

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