5 Tips for Writing a Ballad

A modern ballad is usually a song, one that is a combination of long, slow, heartfelt and sad. But when people talk about old-fashioned ballads, or ballads in poetry, they can mean an intricate poem in which the writer tells a story, usually a love story or a quest. Writing a ballad can be a little like writing a short story, but more elegant and concise, and is a great way to expand your abilities as a growing poet. Here are some tips to start you off, as well as some awesome example ballads from poets on Power Poetry:

  1. Love, love, loveMost often, ballads are stories about love, but you can make your ballad about any event that has deeply affected you. Ballads are regal ways for you to share any heartfelt experience, whether it is painful or one that touched you in a positive way. When picking your story, make sure that it has a distinct introduction, a plot with a problem, and a resolution to the problem. Also make sure that you can write about all of these in the one poem.
  2. First impressions matter.The first line of a ballad is the most important because it introduces the reader to the story. In order to reel the reader in, it might be a good idea to open up the poem with a question or use the word “you” so that the reader feels like they are truly invited into this moment in your life. This way, the reader can directly relate to and feel the emotions you describe in the poem.
  3. Rhyme as you will. For this type of poem, you can pick your own rhyme scheme. Most commonly, though, there are four groups, or stanzas, of three lines with an AAB rhyme scheme where the first two lines rhyme and the third line is different.
  4. Who doesn't love a chorus? Something that makes a ballad a unique type of poem is that they have choruses. Typically, the third line of each stanza is the chorus, so you need to make sure that line is something that is relevant throughout the entire story, because it will be repeated many times. So, your poem’s rhyme scheme will most likely look like AAB CCB DDB EEB, with the same line at the end of each stanza. 
  5. Let's make it musical. Since ballads tell stories while using rhyme and repetition, they are great for turning into songs. Maybe you can try putting music to your new poem, or simply giving the poem to someone you love. Whatever you choose to do with your ballad, make sure to post it to Power Poetry.org and maybe you will inspire more poets to write this type of poetry!

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