In nearly every music composition course a person will take, the professor will stand at the board and show you how to structure a basic pop song.
Intro verse I verse II chorus verse III chorus II bridge chorus repeat chorus outro, all adding up to about three minutes and thirty seconds, when the mind starts to lose interest.
There is a structure that sticks a song in our minds. A formula, a pattern, a four by four bar of beats in the key of C.
Lyrics are written word by word, on scraps of notebook paper and on the back of store receipts. The lines are pieced together over time and take on their forms as the verse or chorus.
Similarly, notes become chords and chords become progressions and progressions to movements.
As Bunn says, “writing is a word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence process.”
Piece by piece. Brick by brick.
Each story owes its success to each word. As Mark Twain put it, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” With each shift in tense, with each minute spent thumbing through a thesaurus for a better word, with each softening of a particular adjective, a story is molded like clay in the hands of a curious potter.
With each squeeze the potter shapes their clay. With each strike-through and rewrite the author shapes their story.