Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rhyme and Reason

I enjoy writing in rhyme, but it can be tricky. There's nothing worse than bad rhyme. Okay, there are a lot of things worse than bad rhyme, but bad rhyme really stinks.

Avoid near ryhmes.

For example:

I try to sleep
but sleep won't come.
I wiggle my elbows.
I wiggle my thumbs.

Thumbs almost rhymes with come, but not quite.

Avoid forced rhyme. Forced rhyme uses words that sound right but don't fit the context of the piece. It sounds contrived.

For example:

My legs won’t behave,
Though I tuck them in.
They fling and flop
and it makes me spin.

Spin rhymes, but it doesn't add much to the piece.

It's also best to avoid rhymes that don't match the way we talk.

I wanted to sleep
In a tall oak tree.
My mom fixed that.
"No" said She.

I got my rhyme, but it doesn't sound good, because it's not the way we talk.

Rhythm and meter and stresses also play a big part, and that's what makes the process so complex.

There are rules about these things, but I think the best test is how does it sound when you read it out loud. If it sounds right, it's a good sign. You need to listen to other people read your stuff, because you know how it is supposed to sound. You can make it sound right. How does it sound when someone with no prejudices reads it.

I'm working on a rhyming piece with some really classy ladies, and one talented gentleman. It's eye opening. My hardest task was to deal with rhyming words that didn't stress the right syllable.

For example:

It works for giraffes
but not for me.
Sleeping animal style
is not easy.

Easy rhymes with me, but the stress in on the first syllable instead of the rhyming syllable.

Next I tried:

It works for giraffes
but not for me.
Sleeping animal style
is no guarantee.

The rhyme works better, but guarantee is not really a kid-friendly word.

I'm still stuck on this one. Nothing seems to work. If you have an idea, please send it along. Maybe your idea is the one I'm looking for.

Linda Garner

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