December 2, 2013

Rhyme Clinic With Linda Ashman!

Happy December, Everyone!

I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and beginnings of Hanukkah and weekends with your families!

I must say, the morning run the last couple days has been more of a morning roll...  I blame the pie :)

Today's post is a long one, but I think you'll find it very educational and worthwhile!  The incomparable Linda Ashman kindly offered to do a Rhyme Clinic, since rhyme can be very tricky indeed!  I think we'll all be able to learn a thing or two.  And it's kind of appropriate to be doing such a special post today because it is my 3rd Blogiversary!  (Well, technically that was yesterday - but we were all sleeping off pie, so let's celebrate today... with some cake!... which I shall make coffee cake in deference to the hour and the fact that we should go light after the Thanksgiving weekend feasting :))


And while we're at it, I think some confetti would be appropriate, don't you?  It's not every day you celebrate a blogiversary with someone as famous as Linda to guest post :)



Alrighty then!  Now that we are fortified with snack and covered in confetti, take it away, Linda!

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Greetings, everyone!

I’ll begin with a confession: Although I’ve critiqued many rhyming manuscripts over the years, I’ve never done a Rhyme Clinic via blog post. So, a huge thank you to the intrepid Susanna for being game to try this.

And thank you to everyone who submitted manuscripts. I really enjoyed reading them, and am sorry I couldn’t use them all. I chose manuscripts which would allow me to answer frequently asked questions and address common issues that bedevil writers of rhyme. I’ll be sharing parts of them in just a minute—but, first, a quick intro. 

In The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, I go into some detail about meter, feet, and how to avoid “Crimes of Rhyme.” Given our limited space here, let me just mention three of the most commonly committed crimes:

1.  Letting rhyme trump story. Sometimes we focus so much on making rhymes that we lose sight of the story. The result? Confusing plot lines, poetic detours, and “random” rhymes that don’t move your story forward.

2.  Unnatural phrasing. It’s tempting to use rarely-heard words or twist sentences into awkward contortions in order to make a rhyme. If it’s not a phrase you’d actually say, it probably shouldn’t go in your story.

3.  “Off” Meter.  Writing rhythmic verse involves more than counting the syllables in each line. You need to pay attention to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. There are different names for these patterns—which I won’t go into here—but the main point is to be aware of the pattern and be (mostly) consistent in using it. You also want to pay attention to “feet” – the number of times the pattern is repeated in a line. Tracking this pattern line by line is called “scanning” your verse—something writers of rhyme should know how to do.

In discussing the meter of rhyming manuscripts, I’ll use ALL CAPS for stressed syllables, and lower case for unstressed. For example:

twas the NIGHT / before CHRIST / mas and ALL / through the HOUSE

has a “da da DUM da da DUM” (anapestic) pattern. This pattern is repeated four times in one line, for four feet. (By the way, putting stressed syllables in all caps doesn’t mean we shout those syllables when we read them—the emphasis should be discernible, but subtle.)

Okay, that’s it for the quick intro. Let’s read some rhyme, shall we?

Our first example is from Winnie Brews a Witchy Stew by Rosi Hollinbeck. Winnie’s mom isn’t feeling well, so Winnie decides to make stew—but a crucial ingredient is harder to come by than she realized.

Winnie’s mom is sick in bed.
With an awfully achy head
            Caused by her pointy hat.

Supper is near, it’s time to cook.
So Winnie scans her big cook book
            For things to fill her vat.

She finds a recipe for cake
That calls for boiled rattlesnake
            It doesn’t sound quite right.

Cold spider soup with extra mud
Needs a cup of green toad blood
            But has to cook all night.

So Winnie wracks her witchy brain.
She pages through the book again
            And finds the perfect thing.

She checks to see what is at hand.
Sure her stew will be quite grand.
            She just needs one bat wing.

She fills her vat with lizards’ feet
Adds chopped jumping spider meat
            Spiced up with dried swamp scum.

Nettles, stinkweed, fried toad warts,
Black squid ink – six or seven quarts,
            And pickled fish eyes –Yum!


Yum, indeed! Anyone hungry? Rosi does something interesting with her rhyme pattern: the first two lines rhyme with each other, then the third rhymes with the third line in the next stanza, and so on. Because she’s consistent about it, it works. Still, I can’t help thinking that third line lands rather heavily and interrupts the flow of the story. What do others think?

Rosi also does a nice job of keeping her meter (mostly) consistent, alternating one stressed and one unstressed syllable (DUM da / DUM da / DUM da / DUM)—or vice-verse—throughout. I stumbled—slightly—in just a couple of places. For example, in the second stanza, she breaks the prevailing pattern with “SUP per is NEAR” (DUM da da DUM). This is easily fixed by using a contraction: SUPper’s NEAR.

I stumbled slightly over the next line as well. Because of the rhyme pattern, I want to say: “so WINnie SCANS her BIG cook BOOK.” But that sounds unnatural because, in speaking, we say “COOK book”, not “cook BOOK.” I’d suggest changing it to something like “WINnie SCANS her GIant BOOK” (the context and illustrations will show that it’s a cook book).

I also tripped over the sixth stanza. The first line sounds unnatural (in speaking, we’d say “She checks to see what’s at hand” (which, unfortunately, doesn’t work with the rhyme pattern), not “She checks to see what is at hand). And the third line has the same problem as the cook book example. Because of the meter, I want to say “bat WING” but, in speech, we’d say “BAT wing.”

A few other lines were troublesome: “Adds chopped jumping spider meat” is a mouthful, and the rhythm is off for “BLACK squid INK – SIX or SEVen QUARTS”. The latter is an easy fix with something like “BLACK squid INK—a DOZen QUARTS.”

Overall, though, Rosi’s rhyme and rhythm are good. My bigger concern is with the story’s pacing. Although a witch’s house is a great setting, Winnie spends the first nine stanzas (of a 24-stanza story) in her kitchen trying to decide what to make, then mixing up various ingredients. When Winnie goes off to a cave in search of a bat wing (in the 10th stanza), things start to get more interesting. Rosi might consider condensing these early stanzas and making them more active and visual. Instead of staying in the kitchen, for example, Winnie might actively collect her ingredients—dig up snail shells, climb a tree for an owl feather, hunt through her dusty attic, etc.

Suggestions:
1.  Try writing it in 4-line stanzas to see how it changes the rhythm and story.
2.  Scan the rhyme to make sure it’s consistent.
3.  Strive for natural phrasing.
4.  Condense the beginning stanzas, vary the scenery, and get to Winnie’s problem sooner.


Now let’s look at a different sort of manuscript. Anteater Saves Gas, Zebra Recycles Trash: A Green Alphabet is a concept book—an alphabestiary with an environmental twist (the author, Nancy, requested I use only her first name):

Anteater saves gas
riding her bike to class.

Bear buys his trash pail
at a garage sale.

Cheetah checks her meter,
then turns down the heater.

Donkey collects rain
pouring down his drain.

Elephant swings higher
in her recycled tire.

Fox lends to friends
his odds and ends.

Giraffe has great advice:
Use sheets of paper twice.

Hyena donates toys
to other girls and boys.

I like the active language (all those great verbs!), illustration potential, and the short, catchy rhymes. The main issue, rhyme-wise, is the meter. Many of the stanzas don’t have a discernible rhyme pattern, and there’s no predominant meter for the manuscript overall. Because this is a concept book—and we’re focused on each page as opposed to an ongoing story—Nancy may not need to use the same meter for all the stanzas. However, each stanza should be rhythmic and follow some sort of pattern.

Let’s start with what works. In the last two stanzas of our sample, Nancy uses a consistent iambic trimeter (three feet of “da DUM”):

gi RAFFE / has GREAT / ad VICE:
use SHEETS / of PA / per TWICE.

hy E / na DO / nates TOYS
to OTH / er GIRLS / and BOYS.

Excellent! Now let’s look at the first stanza:

ANT eat er saves GAS
RI ding her / BIKE to / CLASS.

The three unstressed syllables in the first line make it hard to know how to divide the line into feet. Part of the problem comes from using anteater (DUM da da) to lead things off. It might be easier to use a different animal—like aardvark, for example. If Nancy wanted to keep the three feet pattern of the giraffe and hyena stanzas, she might try something like this:

AARDvark / RIDES to / CLASS
(and) SAVES a / LOT of / GAS.

The illustrations could show aardvark on a bike, so it wouldn’t need to be spelled out in the text.

I like Nancy’s “B” stanza:

BEAR buys his / TRASH pail
AT a gar / AGE sale.

Because Nancy uses the same pattern in each line (DUM da da / DUM da ), it has a nice rhythm to it.  It’s a different pattern than the others we’ve looked at, which—as I mentioned—may not matter so much in a concept book. But if Nancy wants to maintain a pattern of three feet per line, she might try something like this:

BADGer / BUYS his / TRASH pail
SHOPping / AT a / YARD sale.

I also tripped over the rhythm of the elephant (a rhythmically troublesome word like anteater) and fox stanzas. Here’s the latter:

FOX lends to / FRIENDS
his ODDS / and ENDS.

This feels abrupt to me (I keep wanting to say “his odds and his ends,” which sounds more rhythmic but doesn’t make sense). Again, if Nancy wants to aim for three feet per line, she could try something like:

FOX lends / TO his / FRIENDS
(a)SSORT ed / ODDS and / ENDS.


Suggestions:
1. Try to find a rhyme pattern that you like and stick with it. Because it’s a concept book, it’s probably okay to have some variation in the rhyme pattern among the stanzas (what do others think about this?)—but each stanza should have a pattern.
2. The best stanzas (like giraffe) are natural-sounding. Most of your stanzas sound natural, but a few are awkward (for example, later in the text: Kangaroo’s magnet can feel / if a car is made of steel.)
3. In my book M is for Mischief: An A to Z of Naughty Children, I wrote an introductory stanza and a wrap-up stanza to make the collection feel more cohesive. You might consider doing something similar.

Since I’ve already used a lot of space here, I’m going to speed through a couple of examples from two other manuscripts. For each manuscript, I’ll pick out two stanzas—a strong one and a weaker one. 

Verse that works/Verse that needs work.

Our first example comes from Sylvester Johnson Ate a Slug by Pat Haapaniemi. I’ll start with the stanza that needs work because it’s the first one of the story:

Sylvester Johnson ate a slug,
all squiggly and alive.
He’s never done a thing like that
although he’s only five.

I like this stanza—the rhythm, the language, the evocative imagery (yuck!)—but was thrown by the last line. The “although” is confusing. Should he have eaten a slug by age five?  This feels like a “random rhyme”—the sort we use when we can’t find a better one. Sometimes you can get away with it, but I’d recommend changing this one—you don’t want your reader to be confused, especially so early in the story.

This stanza from Pat is much better:

His mother brushed and scrubbed his teeth
And made him gargle twice,
Then took him to professionals
To ask for their advice.

Here the rhyme sounds natural (I love when a multi-syllabic word like “professionals” works with your rhyme scheme), there’s good action, and it leads nicely into the next part of the story—the various experts’ theories on why Sylvester would do such a nasty thing.

For our second speedy example, I’ve pulled two stanzas from Midsummer Mischief by Joanna Marple. This time I’ll start with the stanza that (mostly) works:

On tippy toe paws, like cats on the prowl  
crept Bear and his friends – Mouse, Squirrel and Owl.
I really like the language in the first line of this stanza—it’s rhythmic, evocative, and I love the sound of “tippy toe paws.” I love it so much that it pained me to realize there’s a slight problem with it: owls don’t have paws. Perhaps Joanne can keep the “tippy toe” but get rid of the “paws.”

Here’s the one that needs work:

Fox sank in tears, “I’m a right soggy mess!”
Prankish adventures were his to confess.
The second line is one of those awkward contortions we sometimes do to make a rhyme. In speaking, we wouldn’t use such a phrase. We’d say “Fox confessed to his pranks” or the like. Again, if you wouldn’t say it, you probably shouldn’t include it in your story.

So does all this seem a bit obsessive—and perhaps a mite tedious?  Well, yes, it can be. But trying to find the perfect word—one that works rhythmically, sounds natural, AND moves your story forward—is what makes writing in rhyme so much fun (or not, depending on your perspective).

By the way, if my brief explanation of meter and feet left you more confused than enlightened, I highly recommend the following:





I fear I’ve made this post WAY too long, so I’ll wrap this up with a mantra for rhyme-writers: Be clear, be concise, be rhythmic, be natural.

Again, thanks for your submissions (and sorry I couldn’t include them all), and thank you, Susanna, for having me!

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Thank YOU so much for joining us today, Linda, and for kindly offering your expertise!  I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say it's been a great learning experience.  And I know I've mentioned this before, but Linda's Nuts & Bolts Guide is terrific!  I've read it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to buy themselves ask for a holiday gift :)

See you here on Wednesday for Would You Read It.  And for anyone who might have missed them in the craziness of the past week, the Holiday Gift Guide for Writers is HERE and the guidelines for the Holiday Writing Contest (with great prizes including 2 of Linda's picture books!) are HERE.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!  

From Linda's website:

Linda Ashman's more than two dozen picture books have earned numerous honors and starred reviews, and have been included on the "Best of the Year" lists of The New York TimesParentingChild, and Cookie magazines, Bank Street College of Education, the New York Public Library, and more. As a children's poet, she's been compared to Ogden Nash, Mary Ann Hoberman, Douglas Florian, and Jack Prelutsky. She's taught a variety of workshops on writing for children, and is the author of The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, a "how to" handbook for picture book writers.


Reactions:

133 comments:

  1. I always love learning about rhyme, but am too chicken to try it again! I love the Nuts and Bolts book. And Happy Blogiversary Susanna.

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  2. Thanks, Stacy! And glad you enjoyed Linda's post!

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  3. Happy Blogiversary, Susanna!
    Fantastic advice and instruction from Linda! I love how she went through line by line, finding the rough spots and coming up with solutions. A wealth of info here!

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  4. Wow, this post is chock full of good stuff. Great lesson on rhyme from Linda. I will have to check out her book. And happy blogiversary, to you Susanna! I've enjoyed getting to know you through your wonderful blog =)

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  5. Happy Blogiversary, Susanna!
    Thanks for all the advice in the rhyme clinic, Linda!

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  6. Happy Blog Anniversary, Susanna! It's one of my tippy-top favorites to read. :0)
    Thank you for this post, Linda. I picked up a lot in how you pointed out and fixed 'trips'. I'm working with your NUTS AND BOLTS GUIDE TO WRITING PICTURE BOOKS now and it's brimming with helpful advice. I'd suggest that y'all pick up a copy.

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  7. Wow, this is like going to a seminar, so much useful information. Pulling apart real verse like this is the best way for me to learn. Thanks so much, and for fresh eyes to point out that Owls don't have paws.. :-) Thank you for all the time this must have taken you, Linda.


    Happy Blogoversary, Susanna.

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  8. Be rhythmic. I like that advice! There's so much great information here. Thanks!
    And Happy Blogiversary, Susanna!!!

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  9. Fantastico! Happy Anniversary, Susanna! And the coffee cake is perfect!
    Thanks so much, Susanna, for organizing this rhyme clinic with Linda! I do love to write in rhyme...but sometimes it is so darn hard.:) Linda, you did a super job of breaking down the important elements of what makes a rhyme that WORKS and pointing out WHAT doesn't and WHY it doesn't. This Rhyme Clinic will be a big help to me. I'm off to revise those rhyming manuscripts that have been giving me trouble.:)

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  10. Hooray for your blogaversary, Susanna!! May you have many, many, many more! :)

    Ah, cake an confetti...what more can a gal ask for?

    An wow! Linda's clinic is so jam-packed with great info, I will need to read it over an over again. Thank you both SO much for offering this! I will need to thoroughly read Linda's Nuts and Bolts book. Maybe Santa will bring me an extra 3 hours to the day so I can just sit and read. ;)

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  11. Thanks, Vivian! I'm glad you found it helpful, and am sorry I couldn't fit in Dylan (which has a very nice rhythm to it, by the way!)

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  12. Thanks, Joanna. Sorry about the paws -- but please don't lose the tippy toes!

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  13. Thanks, Linda, for all this wonderful advice! It's very helpful to see line-by-line and stanza-by-stanza critiques. And I'm glad to have all those great titles to read - can't wait to get to your new book. Thanks for hosting this great event, Susanna, and congratulations on 3 years of successful blogging!

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  14. Thanks so much for hosting this clinic, Susanna! And a very big thank you to Linda for such great advice! Your clinic is so full of great information. Can't wait to pick up a copy of your book, The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books!

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  15. No worries, Linda! I will use your tips to make it better.:)

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  16. NO, don't give up on rhyme, Stacey! Keep trying. Start small, with a poem or two. If you're having fun with it, keep going. Always good to see you!

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  17. Thanks, Pat. And thanks for letting me share a bit of Sylvester and his slug!

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  18. Thanks, Melanie. Sorry I didn't have room for Dog Day--it was a fun read (dogs and baseball are a big part of our lives here!).

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  19. Thanks, Teresa! And let me know if you get that extra 3 hours--if so, I'm going to add it to my list next year . . .

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  20. Thanks Susanna for another great event. Thanks, Linda for your valuable time and advice. I appreciated the thorough problem/solution format and the list of links. Thanks to all the brave contributers.
    Thanks, Linda for pointing out the unusual rhyme scheme in Rosi's piece. I've often wondered which variations on pattern are acceptable.
    Nuts and Bolt is on my Christmas list, if I can wait that long.
    And Nancy, if you're reading this, your story idea is a GEM. 'Can't wait to see it in print!

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  21. Fantastic rhyme clinic! Thanks, Linda and Susanna. I'm going to make Santa a giant cookie ;)

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  22. When the clinic was announced, I knew there would be some great information shared. I've bookmarked this post for future reference as I slowly begin plotting out some PB story ideas, maybe even including rhyme. Thank you Linda! And congrast to you, Susanna for your blogiversary!!

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  23. Thanks for the blog wishes, Iza :) And glad you liked Linda's post! Maybe I'll turn this into a series and have you up next :)



























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  24. Thanks for the blog wishes, Ruth! And I feel the same about getting to know you! Glad you enjoyed what Linda had to share :)

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  25. Thanks for the blog wishes, Donna, and your very kind words! :) Didn't I tell you Nuts & Bolts was great? I'm glad you're liking it!

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  26. Happy 3 years! And thanks for inviting Linda to share her rhyme advice. The best advice I was given (ages ago) for books, whether rhyming or not, was to read them out loud. Even prose has meter, and you can catch the stumbles there, too. Thanks, Linda! One day I will be brave and try rhyme.

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  27. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    What a great post! I have a LOT of trouble with rhyming! I learned a lot about feet and meter! Thank you!
    Happy Blogiversary! :)

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  28. Linda,
    Thank you so much for this post. I'm a rhymer! You're is advice is awesome and I love the line by line visual. I have reworked many a line to avoid the crimes you speak of in this oh-so-useful post. It takes a lot of time but in the end it has to sing and tell the story in a seamless way if it's going to catch the eye of an editor. I am reading your book, The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, and I LOVE IT!!!! I've also read many of your PB's and they are delightful.



    Susanna,
    Thanks for the coffee cake. I wish you a VERY happy 3rd blogoversary!!! And thank you for hosting Linda's clinic! It has been a grand addition to my Monday :-)

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  29. Linda's a gem, isn't she? :) Thanks for the blog wishes :)

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  30. Thank you, Erik, and glad the post was helpful! Why aren't you in school? I hope you're well!

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  31. Glad if you found it helpful, Coleen, and thanks for the wishes :)

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  32. Thanks for the wishes, Vivian, and glad you found the post helpful even though I'm sorry your ms didn't get chosen!

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  33. Thanks for the blog wishes, Teresa, and so glad you enjoyed Linda's very informative and helpful post - wasn't she so wonderful for doing this? As for those extra hours... I think you just gave me an idea of what to ask Santa for! :)

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  34. So glad you enjoyed Linda's post, Melanie! She's terrific, isn't she? And thanks so much for the blogiversary wishes :)

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  35. Glad you're enjoying it, Pat! And you will love the Nuts & Bolts Guide - it's really good!

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  36. So glad you enjoyed the post, Joanne. Linda really knows how to teach rhyme! And I highly recommend the Buts & Bolts Guide - you will love it! :)

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  37. So glad you enjoyed it, Catherine! And, you know, if you have any spare cookies, I know someone who loves cookies... :)



























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  38. So glad you enjoyed the clinic, Angela! And I cannot wait to see what you come up with for PB ideas!!! Maybe you should join the Holiday Writing Contest as a warm-up :) Thanks for the blog wishes :)

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  39. I'm so glad you found Linda's post helpful, Penny! And didn't I tell you you'd love Nuts & Bolts? :) Thanks for the blogiversary wishes! :)

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  40. Thanks, Joanne. And thanks so much for sharing "White" -- I'm sorry I couldn't squeeze in more!

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  41. Thanks, Angela. Good to meet you!

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  42. Thanks for the blog wishes, Sue, and that is VERY true useful and helpful advice about reading aloud - one of the most important things you can do with any ms!



























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  43. Hi, Catherine! You're absolutely right -- reading your story aloud is incredibly helpful, whether it's in rhyme or prose.

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  44. Glad to hear that. Thank you!

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  45. Thanks so much, Penny. Kind of you to say that! And "in the end it has to sing and tell the story in a seamless way" sums up the rhyme-writer's challenge perfectly.

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  46. Happy Blog~A~Verse~Ary
    This post is such a treat
    (Whether we measure in meter
    or in poetic feet)


    Thanks for thunks to think about

    And yummy stuff to eat

    We'll kick rhyme crimes to the curb
    Then toss them in the street

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  47. Ha! Didn't you say you never rhyme?? It's pretty fun, isn't it? Thanks for the laugh!

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  48. Thanks so much for all the great comments and suggestions, Linda, and thanks, Susanna, for hosting this event. Very, very helpful. I can see I need to buy Nuts and Bolts right away.

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  49. A perfect rhyming lesson in a nutshell and FREE! Thanks so much Linda. I am bookmarking this post. Me and rhyme are in a love-hate relationship.

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  50. It's fabulous, Rosi - you will love it! And I'm so glad the clinic has been helpful for you! :)




























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  51. Glad if it was helpful, Romelle! Maybe it will help switch the balance more toward love than hate :)

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  52. Bravo! *applause* *applause* Brilliant, Nancy :)





























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  53. Hope you can help me. I want to order Linda's book as a PDF and pay with PayPal. It says on her site to send her an email, but I can't find her email address. Help!

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  54. Hang on , Rosi... I'm checking with Linda...




























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  55. Thanks, Rosi. And thanks so much for sharing your work! Sorry for the website confusion--and thanks, Susanna, for your help!

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  56. Ah, yes. I know that love-hate relationship very well. Thanks, Romelle!

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  57. Great examples. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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  58. Thanks for the real-life examples - they make a great teaching tool. Such a useful rhyming clinic. Linda, do you still do critiques?

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  59. So glad you found it helpful, Sandy! :)

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  60. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 2, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    It's true! :)

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  61. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 2, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Oh, I'm well, alright! Josie's the one who is sick. :(
    We have off school today. Yay! I'm writing my story for your contest! YAY!!! :)

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  62. Thank you so much! Great post. Once I will be bookmarking for future reference. I have read many rhyming craft post which talk about the mechanics and what to do/not do, but this one really helps since you give example of "how to fix it"! Thanks again.
    Happy 3rd blogiversary Susanna!

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  63. Thanks, Linda! I write in rhyme, or at least I try.
    Your examples were so helpful!

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  64. You write WELL in rhyme Deborah! I've read your work :)

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  65. Ooh! Lucky you! I am jealous that you're writing your story! I don't even have an idea I like yet! Tell Josie I hope she feels better soon!

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  66. I always find actual examples so helpful! It's all well and good to hear theory, but to see it in action is what really makes sense. I'm so glad if you enjoyed Linda's post - she's so excellent, isn't she? And thanks for the blog wishes :)

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  67. Hi, Sandy! So glad you found it helpful. And, no, I'm not doing critiques at the moment (although I'll be doing a mentoring program in early 2014 for any SCBWI Carolinas members out there). Susanna does critiques, though, and -- as we all know -- she's wonderful!!

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  68. Thanks, Darshana. Good to see you!

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  69. Hi, Tracy! So glad you found it helpful. Thanks so much for sharing your work -- I'm sorry I ran out of space!

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  70. Thanks, Catherine. Good to see you!

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  71. Oh, I did, Linda. No worries. Thank you again! And you too, Susanna. :-)

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  72. Thanks for submitting, Tracy, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! And thanks for the blogiverssary wishes - I can't believe it's been 3 years!

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  73. WOWOWOW. Great reading here. Thank you Linda. *copying, pasting* This was free??? Golly gee!!! I learned a lot. Sus, thanks for inviting Linda over here. You're smart!

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  74. Linda, this was a very clear breakdown and explanation with the problems within rhyming text. I agree---whenever I "stumble" on a word or line, I know there's a problem somewhere :) Thanks!

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  75. So glad you found it helpful, Donna!




























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  76. Awesome post. Congratulations, Susanna, on your blogiversary. Linda, thanks for the clear explanations and helpful critiques. Everyone who volunteered with poems, thanks for your bravery!

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  77. Thanks, Robyn! So glad you found it helpful.

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  78. Thanks, Donna. Yes, the stumbling is a clear sign (and I do a lot of stumbling over here!).

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  79. Thanks, Sylvia!

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  80. Hi Susanna and Linda, Well for a first blog clinic on rhyming this was great. I hope it can happen again. Thanks to to the writers who submit examples for critique. Congrats Susanna on your third anniversary.

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  81. So glad you enjoyed it, Teresa! And thanks for the congrats :)

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  82. So much awesomeness from Linda and the volunteers! Three cheers for them! :)

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  83. Thanks, Teresa!

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  84. Ha! Yes, I think we all learned about the pentameterthingy --then promptly forgot it. Thanks, Stacy!

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  85. THANK YOU!!! I hesitate to write rhyme, despite the fact that many of my stories just call out for it, because of all the vague words of caution I continually hear from agents/editors at conferences - "Don't rhyme unless you know you do it well" - and as it's hard to be objective with your own words I've never known how to gauge if I am indeed "doing it well". So many lightbulbs went off as I read this as to why certain lines of my own just work and others seem iffy to me, and all the vague-ness has been swept away! Thank you so much - In one blog post you've taken me from fear to freedom in writing verse!
    I also have to say I found myself in an internet rabbit hole the other day and somewhere along my journey stumbled across your full text of Creaky Old House and fell in love with it! I got there from a post of how your ideas begin to take shape from beginning scrawls to finished product, and the whole thing was so encouraging and similar to my own process. Between that post and this one, you definitely have a new fan! :-)

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  86. Happy Anniversary, Susanna! This post was so great! Rhyming is something I love but my skill set leaves much to be desired. Thank you Linda for actually giving us concrete specifics of what does, doesn't work and why. This clinic is bookmark worthy. I tell you Susanna, this blog of yours is quite the resource.

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  87. Thanks, Susanna and Linda for this clinic!!

    Linda, your explanation of meter and feet is extremely helpful!
    As others have mentioned, this is a bookmark worthy post :D


    Happy Blogiversary, Susanna!

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  88. Thanks, Lori! And so glad you enjoyed Linda's expert instruction! :)

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  89. Thanks for the blog wishes, Stacy! And I must say, your description of poetry is exactly how I remember it. Foot shmoot :)

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  90. Excellent post. Thanks

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  91. Glad you enjoyed it, Jo! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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  92. Aw shucks, Pam! You're so sweet :) I'm glad you enjoyed what Linda had to say, and thanks for the blogiversary wishes :) And wasn't your first (or one of your first) books in rhyme? Didn't you share it on MPBM? Or am I confused... very possible :)



























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  93. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 3, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    Now I'M sick to the stomach - we have school today! D: (notice the placement of the colons...)

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  94. Oh, Erik! I'm so sorry :( I hope you feel much better soon. That is the worst!

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  95. Linda is amazing, isn't she? I'm glad you found so much inspiring info between the two posts! And thanks so much for stopping by, Amelia :)



























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  96. What a nice message! Thanks so much, Amelia. Glad you found the posts helpful. Happy rhyming!

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  97. Thanks, Pamela! Yes, Susanna and her blog are amazing, aren't they?

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  98. I hope Santa is nicer to you than he is to me! ;)

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  99. I guess it will depend on how naughty I've been... :)

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  100. This advice is so nice, I ate it up twice. :-)


    I particularly need the reminder that there are illustrations--and the rhyming text doesn't have to spell everything out. Thanks so much. (Also need to remind myself to read your book. I *have* it...just haven't quite got round to reading it...*hangs head in shame*) :-)

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  101. Thanks, Cathy! And thanks for buying the book! :-)

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  102. What a great post! So helpful.
    Makes me want to go write a rhyming picture book! :)

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  103. Go for it, Janet! You can do it! :)




























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  104. Great post! Very helpful. I love writing in rhyme. I find it fun as well as challenging much like a soduko puzzle. I immediately shared this post with my critique group!

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  105. So glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for sharing with your group! :)

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  106. Thanks for the post, Susanna and Linda. And thanks for sharing with our group, Paul. I've just posted it on the resources page of our group's blog, Writers' Rumpus.

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  107. Ha, not a book. Just a poorly written draft that I dare not try to fix. Then again, with the information presented here, I may just try to take another go with it. Yes, I shared it on MPBM. Angry Angela! Robyn teased me unmercifully. She was so funny. Again, great post, Susanna.

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  108. Of course you dare! Dare! Dare! Take it out and give it another go! :)



























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  109. So glad you found it helpful, Marianne, and thanks so much for sharing! I think I just found and followed Writers Rumpus on twitter - what a coincidence! :)

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  110. Thanks so much, Joanne, I am encouraged to revise and submit!

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  111. How strange--I know I commented, but can't find my posting. I didn't want Linda to think I was rude--she did a terrific, inspiring critique of my "Green Alphabet" ms! I'm busy revising with a focus on meter; plus I've ordered all of the books Linda recommended at the end of her post! Her books are tops--having difficulty picking a favorite but "M Is for Mischief" is definitely up there--and I love how generous she is on her website, showing us behind the scenes for her books on their way to publication!

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  112. Thanks, Janet. Hope it gets you rhyming!

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  113. Yes, it IS very much like a puzzle. Thanks for sharing!

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  114. Thanks, Marianne. And I'm glad to know about Writers' Rumpus -- it looks great!

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  115. Hi, Nancy. Thanks so much for sharing your manuscript, and good luck with the revisions!

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  116. I thought you commented too... but we were also talking on Face Book, so maybe I'm remembering that! Anyway, no one thinks you're rude :) and I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

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  117. Perhaps it was FB. Thanks, Susanna, for hosting such a grand clinic! I hope there are more of different genres to come:-)

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  118. Excellent clinic, Linda! And your Nuts and Bolts guide is fabulous, too!


    Susanna, HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY! You've created such a valuable resource for us all!

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  119. Hey, Nancy - that's a great idea! What else would you like to know about?

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  120. Now I'm curious about other concept books, along with those that are nearly wordless.

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  121. Isn't Linda's book great? And thanks for the wishes :) My blog is only great because of all the wonderful people like you who come to visit and participate in everything! :)

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  122. Aw, thanks, Michelle! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  123. So would you like me to find someone who could talk about creating concept books?

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  124. Sure--you know everybody! And since your ALPHABEDTIME is on the publication road, you can even interview yourself:-)

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  125. Hahaha! i didn't even think of that! :)

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  126. I'm not brave enough to try rhyming yet! But I've got this link saved for when I'm ready. :D Thanks Linda and Susanna!!

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