Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rhymes and Misdemeanors

     We're The Meter Maids
     And we are always on patrol. 
     We'll give out fines 
     For faulty lines   
     And place you on parole! 

One of the most heinous crimes of rhyme is to use a word JUST for the rhyme.

Which of the following stanzas is guilty of this infraction?

A)   If you commit
       A crime of rhyme
       You'll go to jail
       And eat a lime!

B)   The prince looked around for a partner
       and found Cinderella- a girl
        he asked her to dance, and she swooned at the chance,
        so the two of them went for a whirl.

C)    On a quiet little farm
        far away from town
        an acrobatic horse
        was hanging upside down

If you said "D, all of the above," you'd be correct!

A)  Obviously, we exaggerated this one make our point.

       PENALTY Jail, with no bail!

B)  This one is a bit more subtle.  The word "girl" is there just to rhyme with "whirl."   Everyone knows Cinderella is a girl!  (and even if someone didn't, the picture would show it)  

      PENALTY$500 fine!

      view details

C)    This one is even more subtle. "Far away from town"  does not add any new information.  We already know they are on a quiet little farm.  The line is really there to rhyme with "down."  This type of offense can possibly slide if you don't do it too much. 

      PENALTY Get off with a warning... this time!

     view details

TIP:  Always ask yourself:  Would I have written that line if this story were in prose?

If you are not sure?  SEND IT TO US at


  1. Wow! I guessed A :/ had no clue about B & C but it does make sense!

  2. Ms. Saba, we are ALL guilty of C from time to time! Heather Alexander calls me out on it at every conference :)

  3. Thanks for the lesson ladies! I'm so guilty of doing this in most all my rhymes.

    1. p.s. Are you guys getting a badge? I'll love to add it to my blog :)

  4. IMHO we ought to invent more words to rhyme with the lovely "twirl" besides girl, swirl, and whirl.

    And no, I wasn't going to suggest "squirrel" although I have heard it pronounced along those lines!

    - Cathy

  5. Reading the comments is almost as much fun (and instructive) as reading your post, ladies. :) Thank you...I love the show and tell's quite helpful. But now I have to go back and reread (and probably rewrite) all of my 12 x 12 pb drafts that are in rhyme. :(

  6. Fun lesson! Now I need bail to get out of jail!
    Thanks, Corey and Tiffany!

  7. Yeah, using words just for the rhyme can definitely be a subtle crime. Sometimes, however it's a blatant offense, so a great first step when you are making revisions is to check your manuscripts for obvious examples, and remove them! I think working on finding surprising and creative rhymes is one of the most fun steps in the whole writing process! And it gets super, SUPER fun when you start incorporating internal rhyme and alliteration all in one fell swoop!

  8. This blog is a great idea!

    Man, what I wouldn't do for the right rhyme when I need it.

    Glad I have the metermaids to call upon now.


  9. I'm glad to have the Meter Maids, too! I can tell I am going to love this blog and all that the two of you have to offer!!! You are much appreciated!

  10. When I first tried my hand at a picture book, I was an elementary school librarian so I thought FOR SURE I knew exactly what to do. Ha. I wrote this long obnoxious book completely in limericks...which, while fun individually, made for a VERY monotonous read aloud. And my main character was a complete brat. Good thing I shelved that monster and didn't get serious about my real writing for another EIGHT WHOLE YEARS. Now instead of obnoxious, I carry the compliment from an agent critique: 'Shel Silverstein-esque' and have a LOT more confidence about rhyming.

    Love this blog!

  11. This is a very helpful blog...I am trying my hand (pen) at rhyming stories, so I could use MUCH help. Thanks, Meter Maids! (Clever name, by the way.)

  12. I would not have guessed "C" at all. Although I paused at "girl" and "whirl" but thought eh, okay. So glad we've got your virtual classroom available to us. I began writing poetry with Rena Boudreau's A to Z poetry challenge this year. Wish you were around before I posted them to the public.

  13. Can't believe I got it all wrong! Need some serious rethinking on my WIP! So happy to have stumbled upon your blog, Meter Maids:)