Happy RhyPiBoMo Monday!

Good Monday rhymers…I’m glad you came back!

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Everything seems to be running smoothly so far and I appreciate those who read and commented on yesterday’s post already. My blog had nearly 850 hits and that’s a record for me! Woo Hoo!

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Okay…raise your hand if you were a party animal last night? Yes, I planned an impromptu Posting Party from Midnight until 1 a.m. for the wild and crazy night owls in our Facebook Group. It was complete and utter rhyming mania, as I posed questions concerning the blog, myself and this event to the partiers and they searched frantically for the answers on-line. The kicker was that they had to respond with their comment in RHYME. Yes, it was hilarious and complete mayhem. SO fun and a great way to kick off this rhyming event

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I have planned the next Rhyming Party for Sunday, April 6th at 12:00 noon, Central Time. I will try to host parties at different times so everyone can participate at some point throughout the month, as we have rhymers from all over the globe! The Aussie ladies dominated the wins last night! Way to go!  Be there with your rhyming brains plugged in and hold on tight! I will announce the winners of this week’s daily prizes on Sunday.

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Here is the link to the Party post. You must read it! It’s so funny!

https://www.facebook.com/angie.karcher.3/posts/317292251758002:0

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RhyPiBoMo Rhyming Party

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The biggest request now is for joining a critique group. We are no longer organizing groups but you may click the “Need a Facebook Group” tab above to locate other writers looking for a critique group too.

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Here is the link to find a critique group:
https://angiekarcher.wordpress.com/need-a-critique-group/

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Now, for the reason you are here…I am pleased to introduce one of my favorite authors. She was one of the first rhyming authors I met when attending an SCBWI Conference in Indiana, many years ago. I was inspired to keep doing what I do because of Lisa and her brilliant books.

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So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s
Golden Quill Guest Blogger
Lisa Wheeler!

           Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge                      Lisa Wheeler 1

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Lisa will soon be teaching rhyme to a very lucky group of writers. She has an upcoming workshop at Highlights! I am pleased to share the information about this great opportunity.

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Highlights image*

Rhymes with Reason April 11 – 13 2014
Highlights Foundation Workshop
You can master the technique of writing rhyming picture book texts with award-winning authors Linda Sue Park and Lisa Wheeler, April 11-13, 2014

For more information, visit http://www.highlightsfoundation.org, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, e-mail jo.lloyd@highlightsfoundation.org.

Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might have an interest or to include the information in blog posts or through other social networking forums.
The Highlights Foundation is a public, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. We dedicate our efforts to connecting, nurturing, and inspiring children’s book writers and illustrators.

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And now, Lisa’s words of wisdom…

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I can write in rhyme all day.
I can rhyme each word I say.
I can do it day and night.
I can rhyme my words just right.

But does anyone want to hear it?
No.
Read it?
Doubtful.

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There is nothing interesting or magical about the lines above. Yes, they rhyme. But if all it took to write a rhyming picture book was rhyming end lines, more people would make a successful career of it.

One of my pet peeves in rhyming picture books is when an author uses rhyming end words but fails to make their words poetry. (As in the above example.) Rhyming picture books –and children!–deserve so much more.

Whether they are written in rhyme or in prose, picture books are meant to be read aloud. To make the experience all the more enjoyable, picture books should have a flow to them. Poetry also has a flow and is meant to be read aloud. The two go hand-in-hand.

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Lisa Wheeler 2*

Compare this, from my book Castaway Cats, to the rhyming lines above:
On an island
in the ocean
near the land of Singapore,
midst a storm of great proportion,
fifteen cats were washed ashore.

Water dripped from wilted whiskers.
Sea salt stung exotic eyes.
Fifteen felines felt quite fearful;
each had used up several lives.

In this example, you will find not only rhyming end lines, but also a few poetic devices and a lilting rhythm that mimics the tide.

Think about it. No one enjoys listening to text books being read aloud–okay, mostly no one. (I am sure there is the rare individual who loves to listen to text books.) If the language is dry, stilted or drones on and on, it fails to surprise and delight the listener.

Primarily when we read picture books aloud, we are reading to children. A well-written picture book should entertain and also instill a love of language into the child. So if that picture book happens to be a rhyming one, what do we hope it will contain besides a wonderful story?

Look at the language. Does the author use alliteration, assonance, consonance, and onomatopoeia? How about hyperbole, puns, simile and metaphor? Does the meter match the mood of the piece?

Writing rhyming picture books is like building a house of cards–one false move and it all collapses. As rhymers, it is our job to make the reading seamless.

The next time you sit down to work on your story, remember that rhyming end lines are not poetry. That is a great place to start revising and making your work as strong as it can possibly be.

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Bio:
Lisa Wheeler is the author of 33 children’s books including Pet Project:Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses and Dino-Wrestling. Her awards include The Michigan Mitten, Texas Bluebonnet, and the Theodore Geisel Honor given by the American Library Association. Lisa shares her Michigan home with one husband, one dog, and an assortment of anthropomorphic characters.

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These are a few of Lisa’s recent books.

Dino wrestling

 

Lisa Wheeler 4

 

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Check out Lisa’s website at: http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com

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Thank you Lisa Wheeler!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Monday March 31st
By Angie Karcher © 2014

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Are You a Professional Poet?

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I recently had a well-respected agent tell me that if I was going to write in rhyme then I needed to be a professional poet. It stunned me at first, as I never thought of myself as a professional poet although I have been writing in rhyme for years, I’ve been paid for my poetry and it has been published. Does that make me a professional poet?

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Poet image

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I asked her to describe a professional poet…she said a poet is someone who writes and reads poetry nearly every day. They belong to poetry organizations, poetry critique groups and Facebook groups. They study poetry in different forms and continue their education through courses in writing poetry.

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Hmmm…I fall into a few of these categories but have decided that I am far from a professional poet. That being said, it is something that is attainable if I am willing to pursue this goal. I am.

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Why should we strive to be a professional poet if we want to write rhyming picture books? Being a professional, in any capacity means putting in the time and effort to improve yourself and your skills…becoming an expert in your field of choice. If you truly want to write in rhyme, then I suggest that you at least consider studying poetry.

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Definition of Poetry: an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response.
http://contemporarylit.about.com/cs/literaryterms/g/poetry.htm

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Now, doesn’t this sound like something you want in your writing

even if you aren’t a poet?

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I do!

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Obviously, poetry doesn’t have to rhyme and formal and free verse poetry can equally evoke an emotional response. For the sake of this writing challenge, we will focus on rhyming poetry.
The more we study language, the more we understand how best to use it to express, explain and exude emotion. So the study of poetry is one step on the stairway to becoming a professional writer.

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Let’s say for a moment that you don’t write in rhyme
and you don’t write poetry.
What do you prefer listening to and reading or…singing…or dancing to?
Let’s find out.

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Dancing girl

This is one verse from the “Do Wah Diddy” song
written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich,
originally recorded in 1963 by the American vocal group the Exciters.

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(Try reading this without adding the tune! It’s nearly impossible for me!)

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There she was just a-walkin’ down the street
singin’ do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do
snappin’ her fingers and shufflin’ her feet
singin’ do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do

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Lyrics to the entire song

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http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/moffatts/dowahdiddydiddy.html

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YouTube music video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob7XDxPtS8Q

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Of course this is a song, but it’s also Poetry. I apologize in advance that you will be singing this song all day in your head. It’s fun, catchy, silly, and visual. I can see her moving, dancing, snapping, shuffling and singing, all at the same time.

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or…

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Do you prefer this version?

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There she was walking down the street
singing, snapping her fingers and shuffling her feet.

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Hmmm… That’s it?

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This version is bland, emotionless and boring. It tells the same story. All the details are there. What’s missing? The fun, clever, catchy words!

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The magic!

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I’m sure you won’t be repeating this second verse in your head today!

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It rhymes but is it poetry? That’s questionable. I say no. Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s poetic or worth reading and remembering.

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This is like a bad rhyming picture book. It has no rhythm, no pattern and no jazz!

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I can’t imagine a world without poetry, alliteration, rhythm or rhyme. The “do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do” part gives this poem life! It brings the words jumping and dancing off the page and into your heart and soul.

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That is GREAT Poetry!
That is what we are after!

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Bad poetry cartoon

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Rhyming Picture Book Month is about writing in rhyme but honestly, that is such a small piece of the puzzle! You must learn the process and continue to write a quality picture book, with all the requirements that non-rhyming books need and…now add in all the things that good poetry needs! It is a tricky and very difficult combination of both of these efforts that makes a rhyming picture book successful.

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You must have all the ingredients to your rhyming picture book

cake or it will fall flat and no one will eat it!

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If you look at the calendar of daily lessons you will notice that the first three weeks are dedicated to writing and studying poetry. Once you have a good foundation of poetry writing, then you can apply that to the rules of picture book writing. As April only has 30 days, I decided to focus our work in this way. I really needed May and June too! LOL

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I hope this hasn’t scared you off. But, if you are not comfortable with writing poetry then rhyming picture books may not be for you. I respect that and understand completely if you decide to bow out now. It does come easier to some, more than others…so some of us must work much harder to get the hang of it!

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How will you ever know if poetry is for you if you never try to write it?

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If you are up to this challenge than stick with us this month and together, we

will learn how to write brilliant rhyme and singing poetry!

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We survived two days of rhyming/poetry and we are still breathing.
Keep breathing and smile!
             

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Here is a list of some well-respected Professional Poetry Organizations
Check them out, visit their websites, sign up for newsletters and blogs!

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http://www.poetryfoundation.org/
http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/resources/litorgs/
http://www.poets.org/
http://www.pw.org/content/literary_organizations
http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Literature/Poetry/Organizations/
http://www.nfsps.com/
http://litline.org/links/organizations.html
http://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=34.0 Blueboard Poetry Sec.

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I apologize if I missed any other awesome poetry groups or organizations!

If so, please leave a comment below and I will add it.

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QUOTE DAY 2

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Today’s Writing Prompt: Write down the words to one of your favorite songs and analyze the rhyme, rhythm and choice and patterns of words.

 

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Okay, now do everything else on the pledge for today and don’t forget to comment on today’s blog post!

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

Please comment ONLY ONE TIME below for a chance to win today’s prize!

Prizes will be drawn by Random.com next Sunday for the previous week.
To be eligible for a prize you must be a registered participant and
comment after each days lessons.

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96 thoughts on “Happy RhyPiBoMo Monday!

  1. Great post!!!! I WISH I had some extra money sitting around right about now. I would have LOVED to take the Highlights rhyming course! Grrr…..

  2. What a marvelous post. All my mind wants to sing now is:
    Rhyme time go away.
    Try to rhyme another day.
    This is really a challenge for a writer who loves reading and listening to poetry, but hasn’t mastered the art.

  3. I feel I am further than most people in this challenge, but I am firmly decided to work hard and not to give up. Thanks for the post. I am off to work on my song now!! THANKS!!

  4. great post Angie and Lisa really got me thinking about the difference between rhyming words and poetry one of my favourite and most poetic bands would be Mumford and Sons I love their lyrics especially Dust Bowl Dance I have actually used it’s rhyming rhythm to write a piece for my writer’s group which I had completely forgotten about till now 🙂

  5. I wrote a poem today and when I center aligned it, the words made a picture.Now that blew the breath out of me. I am feeling that this next 30 days is going to be astronomically awesome. Thanks Angie and thanks to Lisa Wheeler for some wonderful pointers. Feeling the love!

  6. Fantastic lesson! I will now revise my poem I wrote yesterday and take on board Lisa’s Wheeler’s advice regarding word ending rhymes.It made my work look poor. Lots of room for improvement here.I am now going to download one of Lisa’s books for my book of the day.Yesterday I read the war poems of Wilfred Owen! A bit of light reading before bedtime I am sure Lisa’s books will be more cheerful.Loved the lesson and the dancing girl Angie, now off too find my favourite song.

  7. I picked the Witch Doctor song because all day yesterday my daughter had me singing that with her, alternating every other syllable as we played volleyball on the beach, and then recording us on her iPhone half a dozen times in between episodes of Big Bang Theory.

  8. Poetry is not rhyming end lines alone,
    Poetry is language, smooth as a stone,
    Poetry is dancing and jumping up high
    Enough to reach birds that fly.
    Poetry is sense written down
    That brings out a smile or a frown.
    This is end rhymes; it’s not poetry.
    I’m here to learn and hear and see!

    Thanks, Angie & Lisa!

  9. So many songs to choose from and they are great introductions to poetry in the classroom, especially if the teacher or guest author sings. I know I did and the kids loved it. 🙂

  10. This was a great post, very inspiring and a bit scary. Now that I know what I’m in for, I’m shaking in my boots. That said, I’m happy I signed up. Thank you Angie and Lisa

  11. For those of you who are like me, and can remember every exact note and rhythmic beat to a song, but barely get past the first line of words to even your favourites, I have just found this handy website… http://www.azlyrics.com

  12. I was introduced to Lisa Wheeler’s books at the SCBWI Pocono retreat and have loved them ever since. Castaway Cats is a rhyming treasure and Ponder’s illustrations are fabulous! Thank you, Lisa & Angie!

  13. Thank you for Lisa’s informative post, Angie! I am new to writing in rhyme, so I expect to learn a lot this month. I am always fascinated by the rhythm of language, so learning to write lilting, lyrical, rhyme will help with ALL of my writing. 🙂

  14. Thanks, Lisa, for drawing clear distinctions between rhyming and poetry…love your cats. And Angie, I’ve had fun this morning revisiting Nancy Cassidy whose songs my kids listened to constantly many years ago. Now I’m singing FoobaWooba John.

  15. Great blog and lesson – I have a lot to learn. Really enjoyed Lisa’s quote from CASTAWAY CATS. It was helpful that she identified what made those lines work so beautifully.

  16. I am looking forward to meeting Lisa at the WOW retreat this July! So excited. I haven’t written a rhyming manuscript yet (at least not a good one, lol) but maybe by then I will have.

  17. Some great thoughts here, Angie and Lisa. I look forward to my love for language being fed by your challenges this month.

  18. Great lesson guys– I came cross a book at the library-“Poetry Speaks to Children”, Ed. Elise Nash- and it includes poetry from Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, to Roald Dahl and Jane Yolen. A great poetry book that spans the ages and its compiled for children– A must read!!

  19. Hahaha, love that song. You’re right. Without the fun, nonsensical part, that song just ain’t got heart!

    Lisa’s books are so much fun to read. Love the lesson and Lisa’s CASTAWAY CATS verse. It makes beautiful music! Off to start my homework and finish our homeschool lessons.

  20. I’m a huge fan of yours, Lisa! I love all of your books, but my two favorites are Boogie Knights and Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum! The Dino books are just amazing and kids love that series. Thanks for the tips!
    Thanks, Angie for bringing Lisa to us today 🙂

  21. Angie, we must be on the same wave length about songs. I am thinking of the blues & have it in my head, that beat & rhythm. That’s what I am thinking of w/my first poem, The Breakfast Blues!

  22. Love Lisa’s CASTAWAY CATS example…. and all the poetic devices she reminded us to be mindful of when writing rhyming stories. Now I’m off to peruse the language of my favorite song lyrics. Write on everyone.

  23. Oooohhh, I’m getting excited. Lisa’s and your examples really drive home the point. I had never really thought about the difference between rhyming text and actual poetry, but your post made it crystal clear. Lyrical rhythmic writing that draws the reader in. That is my goal and you are providing stepping stones to attain it. Thank you Angie.

  24. Tumultuous bravas, dear ladies of rhyming.
    You’ve shown that the key is in more than the timing.

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for what amounts to an awesome workshop…packed into one small post! I’ve always loved writing in rhyme…but you’ve awakened my realization that ‘even’ children’s picture books that are written in rhyme need to be POETRY. And, you’ve already sparked a story idea for me for a new one…can’t wait to start working on it today.

    The midnight RhyPiBoMo party was lots of fun, Angie. And I’m off to work on my ‘homework’ for today!

  25. Greayt resources and post, Angie! Learning so much. Totally not a professional poet – but I’m fairly certain that by the end of this muonth I will know if I want to be! Did all my pledge stuff besides the PB read – off to grab one from my stash now 🙂

  26. Love, love , love Lisa Wheeler’s tips – and her books!

    Off to spin the radio dial and find a song to jot down.

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