RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 9 Author Rebecca J. Gomez

Happy Tuesday!

Rhyming Critique Groups will be organized this week!

Thank you Dawn Young for organizing our rhyming critique groups again this year! Dawn posted a sign up on our Facebook page so please sign up there if you want to join a rhyming critique group! You MUST be on the RhyPiBoMo Official Registration List to participate this year as we have so many people to accommodate. This is a great opportunity to find other rhymers, as it’s tough to find a rhyming crit group.

Rebecca 2

I am so pleased to have today’s guest blogger. She is a partner in crime with the rhyming guru Corey Rosen Schwartz. Together they wrote the Best in Rhyme Honor Book WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?  If you haven’t read it, find it! It is a delightful read and a perfect example of how rhyme enhances a story.


I’m pleased to introduce

Author Rebecca J. Gomez

Rebecca head shot

Author Rebecca J. Gomez


Avoiding Disaster: Consistency in

Rhyme and Meter

When someone picks up a rhyming book, they want it to shine. They want the rhymes to be true and the meter to flow smoothly. Anything less can mean disaster for your story.

Do you want to avoid disaster in your rhyming manuscripts? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Syllables aren’t everything.

More important than the number of syllables is a word’s natural rhythm. Consider the word “coincidence.” Four distinct syllables in a clear, established, natural rhythm—co-IN-ci-dence.

Others don’t have such consistent rhythm. Consider wild, fowl, and rumbling. The rhythm in each of these words depends on the speaker.

Wild and fowl technically have one syllable each. But many people, like me, pronounce them as two. Wi-ld. Fow-l.

Rumbling may seem like an obvious three-syllable word. But not so fast! Sure, rumble is two, so adding “ing” to the end would make it three. Right? Not necessarily. Some people skip over that middle syllable and pronounce the word as two. Rumb-ling.

Alternate pronunciations can also affect a word’s natural rhythm. Consider the word “harassment,” for example. Is the stress on the first or second syllable? It depends on the speaker.

  1. Does it REALLY rhyme?

When my co-author, Corey Rosen Schwartz, and I are working on a rhyming manuscript, one of us will inevitably say, “Those words don’t rhyme.” I’m in the Midwest. She’s on the east coast. We talk differently. For me, the words not and thought rhyme perfectly. For her, they don’t.

Working these things out together has helped us write rhyming stories with consistent, easy-to-read rhyme and meter.

  1. Names and verbs often compete for the stressed beat.

Consider this sentence: Jack ran down the street. Now say it out loud. Did you emphasize Jack or ran? I tend to emphasize a name when it is the first word in a line, but others will emphasize the verb. If I came across a section of verse like the example below, I might need to pause and correct myself.

Jack ran down the street

with no shoes on his feet,

feeling anxious to meet

his best friend.

This won’t be an issue for every reader, but it’s your responsibility to be aware of even the slightest potential for meter trouble and take steps to address it.

  1. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it.

Don’t arrange a line in such a way as to force an emphasis onto a different part of a word. This is a big NO-NO and I doubt your readers will forgive you for it (assuming a mistake like this makes it past an editor…which, sadly, does occasionally happen).

Don’t use a word solely for its rhyme. Just because a word is listed on thesaurus.com as a synonym – and it’s just the rhyme you need! – doesn’t mean you should use it. Would you use that word if you were writing in prose? Does it truly make sense in the context of your story? Readers love interesting language, but if it a word feels out of place, it will annoy rather than amaze.

Because of the differences in the way people talk, the way they read, and even their penchant (or lack thereof) for rhyme, consistency in rhyme and meter is difficult to attain. However, if you put in the effort and are more patient than you ever thought possible, then your story’s “meter issues” will be blips rather than disasters.



Rebecca J. Gomez loves to write rhyming stories and poems because they are her favorite to read aloud. When she’s not writing or test-reading her rhyming manuscripts on her family, she likes to bake, crochet, hike in the woods, watch movies, and read books from her ever growing to-read pile. She lives in Nebraska with her husband, three kids, two poodles, and one parrotlet.

Twitter: @gomezwrites

Facebook: Rebecca J. Gomez — Children’s Author

Rebecca’s website

 Thank You Rebecca!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!


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The drawings will be done daily and announced on following Monday of each week.




97 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 9 Author Rebecca J. Gomez

  1. Kristi Veitenheimer – Great post! I often wonder if the words I’m writing will be pronounced the way I say them. Tough dilemma, but worth the extra work as you’ve pointed out!

  2. Thank you for sharing how our accents change rhyme. Working with students of diverse backgrounds makes rhyming books an intriguing challenge. – Judy Rubin

  3. Jill Giesbrecht – Thank you for the advice. Great idea to have rhyming crit groups with people from different parts of the country/world so we can get multiple angles on how words work and sound in different places.

  4. Joy Main – Thank you for this post. I hadn’t thought about the different ways people stress a name followed by a verb. I’ll watch out for that now!

  5. Great tips with really strong examples! Many thanks for these, and I look forward to reading yours and Corey’s latest book! –Rebecca Colby

  6. Deborah Allmand
    It’s nice to know the things I struggle with are universal. If you written about what not to do then obviously you’ve had some of the same problems. Thank you for your post! #RhyPiBoMo

  7. Cathy Lentes
    A good list to keep in mind as we write and revise. And I especially appreciate the point about varying pronunciation, emphasis, and syllable count. I almost said no recently when someone asked if I have a HOMEoffice. It sounded like one word with an unexpected emphasis for me. At first, I did not recognize the words. Then my brain made the translation to home OFFice, which is how I say it. And my moment of panic passed. We really were speaking the same language after all, just interestingly different versions.

  8. Sara Gentry
    This was really informative and interesting to me. Incidentally, I also pronounce “wild” in 2 syllables.

  9. Rebecca Good Morning!
    Thank you for the excellent advice! It is interesting how people say words from different parts of the country – and funny sometimes too – making a one syllable word into two or three!!!!
    Love your books!

  10. Laura Renauld- those are the things that trip me up. Thanks for the tips and the reminder that rhyming takes thoughtful, patient work!

  11. Great post, Rebecca! It’s really something when you realize how word pronunciations/syllable emphasis can vary by region and country. You’ve hit upon some great things to keep in mind when writing. Sometimes those square words won’t fit into that round hole, no matter how hard you try! Thank you for your insight and examples.

  12. Hi Rebecca! I really appreciate your advice. I never thought of “wild” or “fowl” as two syllable words. Thanks for being a great mentor!

  13. Melissa Stoller –

    Hi Rebecca – thanks for this illuminating post – so helpful to read about how successful rhymers take into account the way people hear words across the country. I look forward to reading your books!

  14. Amy Murrell. Thanks, Rebecca, for this post. I have seen comments like this over and over and very little elaboration about what to do about them. If anything, it’s practice makes your ear better, stay away from troublesome words, read many mentor texts, but those suggestions (in my opinion) are pretty basic things to do. Are you willing to share thoughts about anything you’ve done to address these concerns beyond the basic tips?

  15. David McMullin. I once wrote a cute rhyming story about a noisy little cicada. Then a critique partner said that nothing rhymed. I hadn’t realized that there were several ways to pronounce cicada. That story went into the recycle bin. So much to consider. Thanks, Rebecca.

  16. Great rhyming advice! I never thought about how we pronounce words differently in different parts of the country. Just another little obstacle. Thanks!

  17. Very interesting. Im surprised that we need to eliminate words due to regional dialect. Any good dictionary gives the syllables and accents for its words.

  18. Mary Warth
    Thanks for the great post! It’s nice to hear that others have the same discussions as my critique group! We definately do not pronounce every word the same.

  19. Donna Rossman – Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing how regional dialect effects rhyme. I’m originally from the East Coast and now live in TN. They get such a kick here over my accent which I never realized was soooooooo pronounced… LOL!!!! 🙂 Got to go. Time for a cup of cawfee… Hee, hee, hee! 🙂

  20. Such excellent points! Thank you for reminding to steer clear of even “the slightest potential for meter trouble.” When we write in rhyme, we have a responsibility to make the read-aloud experience as easy and delightful as possible. It’s in our readers’ best interest, but ours as authors as well. Thank you Rebecca. I finally had the pleasure of reading ‘Moose!’ It’s great!

  21. Thanks for the post. With critique groups being formed this week I had been thinking it would be nice to have partners in (relatively) close proximity, however after this post I can see the benefit to being from different places.

  22. Rebecca thank you for helpful rhyme guidelines. I am going to focus on regional differences in word pronunciation.

  23. Thanks, Rebecca! I loved the “Does it Really Rhyme” portion. It is so important to account for dialects and speech patterns from different regions of the country.

  24. I would respond to each of these comments, but that would take a while! It’s amazing what you can learn when co-writing in rhyme. Glad to help! – Rebecca Gomez

  25. Thanks, Rebecca! It’s easy to forget these regional pronunciation differences, and the # of syllables they have. There was a recent example during ReFo with the word “owl”–What a fun partnership you two have :)!

  26. Shelley Kinder

    The not/thought rhyme dilemma is an interesting one. I’m in the midwest, and they don’t quite rhyme to my ear, but if I heard them used as a rhyme, I probably wouldn’t mind. I lived on the East Coast for 11 years, and the one thing I still can’t get my ear around is that in New England, they hear (and pronounce) “Aaron” and “Erin” a tad bit differently. My midwestern ear hears them identically.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!

  27. Thanks for the education post. Great tips to analyze when trying to write a tight/precise rhyming PB manuscript.
    Love your books 🙂
    aimee haburjak

  28. Julie Schuh

    Thanks so much for telling it like it is. It’s so hard to hear when you have a story to which you are emotionally attached. C’est la vie. It’s time to let go and move on.

  29. Charlotte Dixon

    Great tips for thinking about how others interpret rhyme. Thank you for your insight and inspiration 🙂

  30. Debbie McCue
    Interesting post with much to think about…and more to consider during the revision process. Thank-you for sharing your experience.

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