Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rhymes and Misdemeanors- Part 2

Okay, some of these are pretty obvious, but we just want to make sure we cover the basics, before moving on to more advanced stuff. 


In other words, no Yoda speak!

Phrasing should always sound natural.  As with the last crime of rhyme, ask yourself, "Would I have written this if I were writing in prose?"  If the answer is, "Not unless I've had six shots of vodka,"  then the line has to go!

PENALTY:  House arrest with ankle bracelet!

It's hard to find an example of this in a published book because no editor will go near a manuscript with inverted syntax no matter how good the story arc!

Next up...


"My throne shall be higher," his royal voice plundered.
"So pile up more turtles, I want 'bout two hundred!"

Even the mighty Dr Seuss (our idol!)  is guilty of this infraction on occasion.  

Examples abound in published works.  

Take for instance, this stanza from My Life as a Chicken  (and BTW, this is a very cute picture book, and we do really like it!):

Hard at work I cluck 'n' lay
night and day-- no time to play.
Laying dozens is my fate,
eggs in cartons, eggs in crates. 

Some people will tell you that if its close (i.e. with an "s" and without an "s"), then it's okay. 

But we are STICKLERS.   And here's why...   there are a million ways to convey the same sentiment.

Here is the same stanza from THE THREE NINJA PIGS written three different ways.
The wolf saw that he'd be defeated
He hung his head low in disgrace
Then the wolf disappeared,
and all the pigs cheered.
And he never again showed his face!

The wolf saw that Pig Three could take him
He shuddered and shivered with fear.
“Though I do love to dine
on succulent swine,
I’d best get the heck outta here!”

The wolf saw that he was outrivaled
He took one last look at Pig Three
"I love to eat ham,
but I think i should scram
before she makes mincemeat of me!

When there are so many ways to say the same thing, why settle for one that is less than perfect? 

PENALTY- Fine of $25-250 depending on frequency and severity. 

view details

TIP:  Use rhymezone.com and thesaurus.com to find alternate phrasing!


  1. Thanks for the three examples ladies. This helps tremendously!

  2. Thanks for helpful website recommendations, too. :)

  3. Another helpful post. I'm a huge fan of Rhymezone & thesaurus. I use them constantly.

  4. Phew, I use those sites too...glad to see they are your "Tips"! excellent post (again!) thanks Nicky

  5. What if you manipulate the spelling of a word to complete a rhyme: plundered/hundered, eh? What say ye?

  6. Pam, in that particular example, I'd say it doesn't work for me because the pronunciation is not recognizable. But I often do things like chicken and ticking' (dropping the "g" to get the rhyme.).

  7. Ugh, autocorrect! Supposed to say chicken and tickin'

  8. Thanks, ladies, for another great post! I love rhymezone and thesaurus.com!

  9. I am so curious as to what verse is in THE THREE NINJA PIGS :-) But...I will have to wait since it isn't out until September. It sounds soooo adorable! The cover art is incredible. I know you must be excited!

  10. Hi Meter Maids,
    Please don't give me a ticket...I promise to go over my pb drafts and rephrase. :)
    Great post that answers questions some rhymers ask themselves...and then answer themselves because they don't want to "go by the book". :) I do see MANY examples of rhymes that don't really rhyme and inverted phrasing used to make the rhyme "work"...in lots of traditionally published books. Thank you so much for the resource tips for rhyming...I will definitely check them out.

  11. You guys are going on my blogroll. I have to learn how to not be "forced" in my rhyming....

  12. When do we get more???? I need a Meter Maid fix :-)

  13. I had never heard of Rhymezone--thanks for the tip! Great article!