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Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby beff » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:09 pm

Jan,
I don't have much to add, except rhymezone.com has been invaluable to me. When I write poetry, I keep two windows open (in addition to the word processor). One is rhymezone.com. It's ease of use makes it the perfect tool to find words that rhyme and, as you mention, it has words categorized by number of syllables.

Sometimes I work my poetry backwards. If I have a good word or thought I'd like to end a stanza with, I write it down then work on what precedes it.

The other window I keep open is thefreedictionary.com. (This is not to find rhymes but to find synonyms to make my writing "stronger.") Near the bottom of the page (for whatever word you entered) is a list of synonyms, I usually scroll down to that list.

I can't say enough about these two resources. They along with FaithWriters (website and FW friends) are what have helped me to be where I am at this stage of my writing.

Thank you for asking.
Beth LaBuff

..in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son... Hebrews 1:2

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:17 pm

Thanks, Beth!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby JayDavidKing » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:42 am

This is simple but it has (I think) at least SOME of the things in your lesson.

Avoiding my savior, I dithered through the day,
tucking him securely in my holy attaché.
I felt that I could call him anytime, anywhere
so I ignored his whispers, I never said a prayer.

The things I never saw with my weakened carnal eyes
were the dangers pressed around me, I never realized.
Hidden in my attaché, my Savior’s aide declined,
I had no sense of peril for I was far too blind.

But then there came a challenge, much more obvious to me;
I recognized the danger, though still seen carnally.
I opened up my attaché and made my crisis known:
"Lord, oh Lord, please help me... please don't leave me all alone."

Then I heard his whisper, oh so softly in my ear
reminding where he'd been when I felt no need to fear.
He had always been beside me, never locked away.
His deep love was faithful; he'd not dithered through the day.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:47 am

This is a poetic trifecta--great rhymes (I particularly like through the day/attache), consistent meter, and rich imagery. Well done!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby yarra » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:37 am

Hi Jan,
I laughed when I saw your comment about the song "Happy Together" because my choir is performing that song this weekend, along with other songs. It doesn't have those lines in it though, so either it's another song with the same name, or the lyrics have been 'improved'. The one we're singing starts with "Imagine me and you, I do".

About rhyming in poetry - I have to admit that I love good rhyming poetry and am disappointed with the modern literary world for not liking it! I love good rhythm too and that's often missing in a lot of modern poetry. Maybe it's because they are a bit more "musical" to my ears. Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a liker of patterns. I find it hard to be satisfied with near rhymes and only include one of those when I really can't find an exact rhyme. But I should be more adventurous and try using some. I admit to being a bit of a lazy rhymer at times and I think my poetry can be a bit predicable in its rhymes.

I don't like poetry where people bend language to sound unnatural so that it fits in with the rhyming pattern. Here's an example I'm making up now:

The sight before her struck her dumb
And from her mouth a scream did come.

No-one speaks like that saying, 'From her mouth a scream did come' unless it's meant to sound funny. Is that what you mean by not using usual language syntax?

Here's my attempt at using some more creative rhymes:

A whistling wind blew errant leaves
through the garden, in the eaves.
It's aim was making menace.
The trees withstood with grimace,
letting go their dignity
for the autumn symphony.

What do you think? - 2 near rhymes (sort of). I'll have another go later if I can and try some other things - rhyming one word with two, etc.

Thanks for reading, Jan, and for your ideas for improvement.
Blessings, Ellen

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:58 am

yarra wrote:Here's my attempt at using some more creative rhymes:

A whistling wind blew errant leaves
through the garden, in the eaves.
It's aim was making menace.
The trees withstood with grimace,
letting go their dignity
for the autumn symphony.



I really like those near rhymes!

I was going to do a lesson on near rhymes next week, but a different lesson has become more urgent--but stay tuned for a lesson on near rhymes in the next month or so.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby Laurie » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:21 pm

Jan, I remember you pointing out the love and above issue in the past. That was helpful. I learned from you, and others here at FW, back in the day. When I used to write poetry (mainly from 2003 to 2007), I learned to use rhyme zone and a thesaurus. And I wrote better poetry because of it.
I can't add anything here, but I just wanted to say it's nice to see this lesson here. :)

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:27 pm

yarra wrote:
I don't like poetry where people bend language to sound unnatural so that it fits in with the rhyming pattern. Here's an example I'm making up now:

The sight before her struck her dumb
And from her mouth a scream did come.

No-one speaks like that saying, 'From her mouth a scream did come' unless it's meant to sound funny. Is that what you mean by not using usual language syntax?



I actually had a paragraph about this in the original lesson, and I edited it out. The lesson was too long, and this had to go.

However, I agree with you, and I don't much care for the "did [verb]" or "do [verb]" construction. You're right--it sounds contrived and unnatural, and people don't speak that way.

The only reason I decided to trim that section was because a lot of really good and famous poets have used that very device (and other rearrangements of the usual English syntax). So it's tricky to teach; it's like saying "you can do this, but only if you're a famous poet who can get away with it."

But that's really the lesson.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby Cinnamon Bear » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:56 pm

Regarding unusual language syntax:

My recent entry for "Bestie", utilizes not only unusual syntax, but also archaic words:
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-editors-previous.php?id=48610


I can only surmise that one or both of the following is true:

1) If I hadn't utilized these devices, I would have placed 1st in E. C. instead of 3rd--okay will maybe 2nd. :lol:

2) For this type of poem, unusual syntax and archaic words are acceptable. :?

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:26 pm

Virginia, that's a beautiful poem! And the altered syntax and archaic language are exactly right in this poem.

I'm curious--why did you number the stanzas?
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby yarra » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:38 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Regarding unusual language syntax:

My recent entry for "Bestie", utilizes not only unusual syntax, but also archaic words:
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-editors-previous.php?id=48610


I can only surmise that one or both of the following is true:

1) If I hadn't utilized these devices, I would have placed 1st in E. C. instead of 3rd--okay will maybe 2nd. :lol:

2) For this type of poem, unusual syntax and archaic words are acceptable. :?

Cinnamon Bear


Hi Cinnamon Bear,
I love that poem that you wrote using unusual syntax, so that makes my comment about strange syntax a bit strange in itself! I guess, in my opinion only, that it works in your poem because it has an 'old world' ring to it. So, my thoughts are - it all depends, and poetry can employ all sorts of language devices to advantage. Some work in some poems and not in others, but what works for me may not for someone else. Creative use of language is actually what (in my opinion) makes poetry poetry. (Do you agree with that, Jan?) It's fairly subjective. However, the literary fraternity's opinions are what count in getting published, and winning FW Challenge 3rd places. That poem is lovely!
Blessings, Ellen

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby Cinnamon Bear » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:27 pm

Jan and Ellen, thanks for your kind words.

Regarding why I numbered the stanzas. I wanted to use the same meter as "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree" and the version of the lyrics that I found online, numbered the stanzas.

Another reason: I got increasingly confused regarding how to order the stanzas, so numbering them helped me keep track. In my rough draft, the poem was starting to wander a bit, and several of the stanzas rehashed the same thing--not saying anything new.

Ellen, I agree with you that it has an old world ring. "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree" was written circa 1761, and I had it in my head the whole time I wrote my poem. Your comment about unusual syntax isn't strange. Old fashioned syntax isn't right for most poems.

Cinnamon Bear :)

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby livinginthe1940s » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:20 am

I'm not very clever with poetry, but I really like to idea of an inexact rhyme. This could also be wonderful for prose. Thanks for posting! :)

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby Caleb Cheong » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:30 am

Hi Jan!

I missed the discussion as I was away in Malaysia.

I wonder if you would be kind enough to give me some useful comments for a poem written in blank verse this morning. It has ten unrhymed lines.


Regards


Caleb Cheong

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Re: Be a Better Writer--RHYMING BEYOND THE BASICS

Postby glorybee » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:36 am

Is it blank verse or free verse?

Blank verse is rarely seen here (if ever)--it is usually metered poetry in unrhymed iambic pentameter. I'd be thrilled to see someone at FW try their hand at blank verse.

Free verse is far more common--it's that free-flowing, anything goes kind of poetry, without rhyme or meter.

Caleb, I'm currently on vacation, and only checking this forum once a day or so. But if you're not on a time constraint, you could post your poem here for a few comments. This particular thread is about rhyming--and it's not the Critique Circle, so you probably won't get a full-fledged critique here. But I'd be happy to given you an impression and a pointer or two.
Jan Ackerson

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