Fifty-Five Love Ballad Lyric Prompts

Amanda Bloom


No. 1 Reference to falling.
No. 2 Reference to walls tumbling down or being broken through.
No. 3 Eyes as location, e.g. “In your eyes.”
No. 4 Eyes or other physical features as capable of speech, e.g. “Your eyes told me.”
No. 5 Arms as location.
No. 6 Reference to specific clothing, e.g. “That dress I like” or “You had your blue jeans on.” 1
No. 7 Reference to a touch, kiss, or smile.
No. 8 Reference to the desirability of another’s body or specific body part.
No. 9 Reference to lovemaking. 2
No. 10 Testament to truth or reality.
No. 11 Reference to being shown something by another.
No. 12 Reference to the arrival of an answer.
No. 13 Reference to divine intervention and/or fate.
No. 14 Reference to general consensus, e.g. “So they say.”
No. 15 Admission of not knowing something previously, e.g. “Now I see.”
No. 16 Admission of not knowing something presently.
No. 17 Acknowledgment of something’s longstanding existence, e.g. “All along.” 3
No. 18 Declaration of never having felt something before. 4
No. 19 Admission of helplessness, e.g. “I tried but I couldn’t look away.”
No. 20 Nighttime as setting. 5
No. 21 Solitude as setting. 6
No. 22 Togetherness as setting.
No. 23 Reference to another being unlike anyone else.
No. 24 Reference to a time period previous to having met another.
No. 25 Reference to a future extensive time period, e.g. “Until the end of time,” or “For the rest of my life.”
No. 26 Reference to considerable change, e.g. “Everything is different now” or “Life has just begun.”
No. 27 Reference to salvation and/or rescue.
No. 28 Declaration of something/everything being done in another’s honor, e.g. “It’s all for you.”
No. 29 Declaration of amorous feelings in regard to depth, volume, and/or metaphor/simile, e.g. “As deep as the ocean” or “You fill my heart.”
No. 30 Admission of need.
No. 31 Declaration of another being the only thing one needs.
No. 32 Declaration of being made for another.
No. 33 Declaration of disinterest in consequence or public opinion, e.g. “I don’t care anymore” or “No matter what they say.”
No. 34 Reference to the things one would do for another.
No. 35 Reference to what outside persons cannot or would not do for another.
No. 36 Comparison of outside persons’ actions or capacities to those of one’s self, e.g. “Like I do” or “They don’t know you the way I do.” 7
No. 37 Declaration of not giving in or fighting.
No. 38 Declaration of giving in or not fighting.
No. 39 Declaration of unstoppability. 8
No. 40 Promise of never leaving and/or declaration of trustworthiness, e.g. “I’ll stand by you” or “You can count on me.”
No. 41 Declaration of steadfast amorous feelings, e.g. “Love is here to stay.”
No. 42 Assurance that fear is unnecessary.
No. 43 Reference to another’s absence.
No. 44 Reference to a relationship forbidden or star-crossed.
No. 45 Declaration of wanting to leave a lover for another.
No. 46 Declaration of wanting another to leave a lover for one’s self.
No. 47 Admission of foolishness.
No. 48 Reference to one’s own wrongdoing, e.g. “I should have treated you kind.”
No. 49 Knees as location, e.g. “You’ve got me on my knees.”
No. 50 Declaration of a lackluster life experience without another, e.g. “Skies are gray without him.”
No. 51 Declaration of improbable survival without another.
No. 52 Plea for forgiveness.
No. 53 Plea for another to believe in one’s self.
No. 54 Plea to not be left, e.g. “I’m begging you to stay.”
No. 55 Plea to be taken back.

1     Reference to plain or dress-down attire can convey authenticity of feeling, e.g. “A ponytail and no makeup” or “Just a t-shirt on.”

2     Also declaration of future lovemaking, e.g. “The things I’m going to do to you.”

3     Pairs well with Prompt No. 15.

4     Also vague reference to another’s effect on one’s self, such as “What you do to me” or “The way you make me feel.”

5     Late night specification can create a dark, desperate atmosphere, and a request or wish for “One more night” can indicate wistful realism.

6     Pairs well with Prompt No. 20.

7     Disdain for outside persons may add further conflict and tension.

8     Can refer to a person, persons, or a feeling.

Amanda Bloom has work published or forthcoming in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, matchbook, Narratively, The Cardiff Review, and elsewhere. She was a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist in the 2018 Iowa Review Awards, and she received a Connecticut Artist Emerging Recognition Award for fiction in 2018. She is a fiction editor at the New Haven Review.

image: John William Waterhouse, Dante and Beatrice, 1915