A song is approximately 200 words and four minutes. That’s all you get to tell your story. If you are writing a screenplay then you would have 2 hours and over 600,000 words, leaving plenty of time for character development.
In a song, every word has to count, unfolding the story line by line. And that seems to be the challenge – to tell a story in such a short period of time without sacrificing the content.
Your story should still contain plot, setting, characters and theme.
Plot - introduction of characters, situation and circumstances, the action of the story.
Setting - the background where the action takes place.
Characters - living beings in the story that act or think in order to keep the story going.
Theme - total meaning of the story.
A song is a point in time. It’s not the whole story. It's one moment or perspective of a bigger picture.
It’s the story of what the boy is thinking and feeling when he is about to knock on the front door of his girlfriend's house to ask her forgiveness. It’s the moment when he questions whether this is a good idea or not. But the moment he knocks, it’s another story, another song.
Be consciousness of how you frame your stories.
Pam Sheyne figured this out early in her career and in return, has sold over 50 million records!