5 Different Ways You Can Structure Your Verses

Writing your verses can sometimes be the most difficult part when it comes to writing a song.

You may have the overall story to your song, you may even know what to include in each verse, but what you don’t know is how you can structure your verses.

Well, luckily there is no technique that is right or wrong.

The answer is, as long as you keep your listener engaged with the story and don’t bore them, then you’ve done it right.

You can achieve this through a variety of verse structures.

Read and enjoy the post!

Storyline

The first thing we should consider before thinking about our verses, is your song as a whole.

What’s the story?

What is the main point you’re telling the listeners?

How do you want your listeners to feel?

How does your story end?

You need to do this first because each verse will link to these questions, and it’ll allow you to focus better when writing your verses.

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can then make a note of finer details for your verses.

Here is an example of a song that will be written about someone who has a gambling addiction.

  • What is the main point in each verse? For example:
    • Verse 1 – How you let yourself fall behind on your taxes
    • Verse 2 – How falling behind on your taxes affected your life & relationships
  • What is the main event/activity? For example:
    • Verse 1 – The place where you spent all your money such as in a casino
    • Verse 2 – A different place from verse 1
  • What emotion? For example:
    • Verse 1 – Enjoyment from winning
    • Verse 2 – Guilt and remorse from losing
  • What tense? Past, future or present? For example:
    • Verse 1 – The past
    • Verse 2 – The present

Don’t forget your verses paint a picture for the listener, make sure they include finer details that you wouldn’t mention in the chorus.

Use your senses as they are powerful. Include what you see, hear, smell etc. in your verses. This will assist you in making the listener feel as though they’re with you experiencing it.

Different verse structures you can play with

Below I’ve put together 5 different verse structures you can try out, and use in your own songs.

Note: S means a short line with a syllable length of 2-5 and L means a long line with a syllable length of 6+. For rhyming style: A’s rhyme together, B’s rhyme together, C’s rhyme together and a – means no rhyme. Brackets means an internal rhyme.

Structure 1 – Short and long phrases

  • Line structure: 4 lines
  • Line length: SLSL
  • Rhyming scheme: ABAB (rhyming alternates)

Here we have an example:

  • I can feel it now
  • The wind blowing through my hair,
  • I see clearer now
  • A whole new life we can share.

There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple, basic and to the point.

This verse is positive and paints a picture of a new beginning. It includes the senses as well making the listener feel and see what you are seeing and feeling.

The second verse, follows on from the new beginning with physical activities:

  • The sand on my feet
  • Looking out at the ocean,
  • Us between the sheets
  • I can feel this devotion.

Verse 1 is the start of the new beginning, whereas verse 2 is the during this new life.

Structure 2 – Four long phrases

  • Line structure: 4 lines
  • Line length: LLLL
  • Rhyming scheme: ABAB (rhyming alternates)

Here we have an example:

  • Take a hint of vanilla
  • I want to taste it all night long,
  • It meets my criteria
  • Blood pumping going strong.

Another popular verse structure and similar to structure 1 it’s easy to create and is simple.

This verse is also positive and paints a picture of enjoyment and satisfaction. It also includes the sense of taste.

However, this is in great contrast to the second verse:

  • Perhaps you’ll claim ignorance
  • Behind your bulletproof pillar,
  • Whilst others taste the substance
  • Avoid the broken bar.

Verse 1 is overly positive and filled with energy but verse 2 shows the negative impact and how others turn a blind eye to enjoyment gone wrong.

Structure 3 – Long phrases rounded off with short ones

  • Line structure: 6 lines
  • Line length: LLLLSS
  • Rhyming scheme: -A-ABB

Here we have an example:

  • Shrapnel enter my bloodstream
  • Cast away like an empty boat,
  • Off the shore where Angels wait
  • Facing passage to stay afloat.
  • Keep waiting, keep waiting.

We have long lines with only the 2nd and 4th rhyming, closing on an internal rhyme. Also, don’t be afraid to repeat a short phrase or rhyme using the same word.

This verse is very descriptive and filled with metaphors, and its paints a vivid picture.

What you see is subjective, but here I imagine an injured pirate on a broken boat seeking passage to Heaven.

And again verse 2 shows the outcome to this poor pirate.

  • Acid burns my fragile skin
  • As you torment this state of mind,
  • The Angels wings have fallen
  • This previous body left behind.
  • Keep waiting, keep waiting.

Didn’t turn out good for the pirate.

Structure 4 – The ABC structure

  • Line structure: 6 lines
  • Line length: SLLSLL
  • Rhyming style: ABCABC (abc rhymes)

Here we have an example:

  • I died in my sleep
  • Gripping to the book of truth
  • Trying to reach a legendary place.
  • But it wasn’t deep
  • Enough in this sacred group
  • So I drifted far from this wicked place.

ABC rhyming is always a fun one to do if you’ve got long phrases to say which you can break up. Also, don’t be afraid of near rhymes as well, they’re not wrong!

Yet another set of metaphorical lyrics so how you interpret them is subjective. I see a person on a journey of self-actualisation to reach their full potential but this wasn’t enough to be accepted. Rather philosophical.

So what did this person do in the 2nd verse?

  • In my sleep again
  • Hoping to forget ‘bout us, to
  • Get lost with a version of me you’d love.
  • I lost my faith when
  • You looked beyond with coldness
  • Diminishing my existence from above.

Okay, so they daydream everything is perfect, but in reality they look at themselves with coldness and bitterness.

Ouch! Bad times.

Structure 5 – Something more complex

  • Line structure: 6 lines
  • Line length: SLLSSS
  • Rhyming style: A-(B)-A-

Here is an example:

  • Living carefree
  • Got no stones holding me down
  • I feel the breeze, I feel at ease.
  • I feel at home
  • I’ve been set free
  • I have renounced.

These lyrics are clear and simple, a person has been set free from what’s holding them back, and we have some senses being used as well.

We can also experiment with more complex lines and rhyming patterns such as this one. Don’t be afraid to make up your own structures and be more adventurous. As long as you have rhyme and rhythm repetition throughout the listener will remember your verses.

Let’s see how verse 2 pans out:

  • Living hidden
  • Escaped your grasp you had me in
  • Behind the mask, it’s now the past.
  • I couldn’t care
  • I was beaten
  • I am your sin.

Verse 2 switches tenses, it takes the listener on a journey to where they use to be. A dark turn to the song reminiscing something bad but it keeps the listener interested.

It’s your turn

Writing engaging and interesting verses doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t take an expert to get it right.

Experiment with your verse structures or use one of the examples above, and keep listeners interested with your story.

Good luck, and get creating!

Further reading:

Want to continue learning? Check out these related posts:

How To Structure Your Verses

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