Have a RhyPiBoMo Wednesday!

Welcome to Rhyming Wednesday!

I am thrilled with the participation on the blog and in the Facebook Group! You are all so generous with your comments and in sharing wonderful resources for the rest of us!

Writers are the best! Really !!

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*I wish I could help but unfortunately all the RhyPiBoMo Critique Groups are closed as of last Saturday.

So, if you are still in need of a group click the tab above that says “NEED A CRITIQUE GROUP”

Read and follow all the directions.

You will be on your own to find a group but this will allow you to connect with others who also want to join a group.

Please do not ask a question about critique groups in the comments as I am not able to help with this process due to time limitations and the amount of comments posted.

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So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Rebecca Kai Dotlich

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Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge        Rebecca Dotlich 1

Rebecca was so kind to call and ask what she should write for RhyPiBoMo. We tossed around a number of topics, but ultimately decided to share a wonderful blog post she wrote for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 back in August, 2013. This information was a perfect fit for RhyPiBoMo…no need to reinvent the wheel here! She kindly sent a short note with her thoughts on writing rhyme…

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The note from Rebecca…

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A note to those trying to get into the children’s publishing world:
If writing is your passion, if you are dedicated and you work hard at your craft, don’t let anyone or anything discourage you enough to quit. I have always said, and still do, I would have written until the day I died. I would still be trying.
Publishing is the gold, the prize, the tip of the journey, but it isn’t THE journey. Writing is the journey; learning, getting lost in story and words, and working at your craft day after day, year after year.
BTW: Remember that most editors and agents discourage writers from writing and submitting rhyming picture books because they see so much that isn’t written professionally and with a good sense of meter and rhythm and most of all — those same manuscripts most likely incorporate forced or inverted rhyme.
But if you are trying to break in with a rhyming picture book, and you’re fairly certain you’ve conquered these obstacles, go for it! And keep going for it.
The most true TIP I have to offer: Read stacks of books in the genre you want to write. Rhyming picture books?
Read all the newer ones on the bookstore shelves — and all the traditional tried and true ones from the library shelves. Then read them again.
Then type them out and look at the text without illustrations.
Then read them again.
Then read them again.
Then read them again.

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And now, Rebecca’s blog post…

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FAR FROM THE SEA AND THE SALT IN THE AIR
Or
Using Poetic Devices to Create Picture Books

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The title of this post is a line from Barbara Cooney’s MISS RUMPHIUS. It is also a perfect line to demonstrate lyricism and the use of poetic devices found in picture books.

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These few words strung together make music; “. . . far from the sea and the salt in the air.” They also spark our imagination, and give an aura of wonder and mystery. This line could have been much less poetic. It could have been written like this: “She left home and went to live in another city that was miles away from the ocean.” That would have been a well-written line. But it just doesn’t evoke the same feeling.

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Often, writers mistakenly think alliteration is simply a succession of the same first letters of two or more words placed side by side on the page. And in an honest attempt to try and nail this poetic device, will mistakenly go for the neon-lighted-here-I-am-am kind of alliteration. (Robo the raccoon cooked creamy carrot soup.)

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In the example above, the f in far and from are indeed side by side on the page, but they fit there seamlessly. There are many ways this line could have been written. (A long way from, Out from, Away from, etc.) But joining the word far with from makes this line sing. It seems like such a simple thing. And often it is. And it’s what works.

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Same with the s in sea and salt. Still using the s but replacing shore for sea, you notice it doesn’t have that same poetic ring, that lyrical quality. Far from the shore and the salt in the air. Just isn’t the same, is it? Proving that all alliteration is not created equally. Sea and salt. Shore and salt. Listening to your word choices and lines aloud, over and over and over again, is the best way to determine if you have made the right choices. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

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There are thousands of examples similar to this, of course. As you read through stacks of picture books you will discover them. You can’t ask for better teachers than the books themselves. There are brilliant articles and educators that will dive in and come out with a much better roadmap for a post like this than I can. But this is my roadmap, and I am, no doubt, trying to simplify a complex subject. But here are a few thoughts:

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As you craft your picture book, keep in mind all the tools and poetic devices at the ready; imagery, personification, metaphor, repetition. Rhyme and rhythm are two very important poetic tools, but by far not the only ones. As you are writing your picture book, listen to the sounds of the words. Remember that something lovely and lyrical (like the Cooney example, above) is only one way of adding a poetic feel to your picture book. Be aware of these poetic tools as you write, but not focused on them. And whatever you do, don’t demand your muse to use them all.

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Write sentences that flow organically, or seem to. They won’t really flow organically of course, but the goal is to make it look that way. The reader wants to feel like he isn’t stumbling or tripping over rhythm that is off, rhyme that is forced into a corner, or language that is so lovely-contrived, it ends up being jarring to both tongue and ear.

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Children love wordplay (palindromes, anagrams, spoonerisms, etc.,) but they also love to play with words (fascinating words, difficult words, clever, whimsical and silly words.) Dabble in the playground of fanciful and unexpected. Noodle in imagery; pull words from the magical pot called imagination. (Some people call it Thesaurus.) In truth, it’s both. And remember that every word counts. Every. Word.

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Rebecca Dotlich 2

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My rhyming picture book WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP? (Illustrated by Mike Lowery, Knopf, September 2012) began with one poetic device; repetition. I didn’t consciously do it, it just happened like most ideas: driving in the car, my grandson (then about 6 or 7) and I were talking as he pointed out construction sites, highway work, a crane lifting a concrete barrier:

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Ian: Can a crane pick up a crane?

Me: It sure can.

Ian: Can it pick up a truck?

Me: Yep, a truck too. (And then, being silly). . . and a truck, and

a truck, and a . . .

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And he laughed. (You had to be there.) And we proceeded to name all the things cranes might pick up. And we were making a book. We kept repeating it as we went, so we wouldn’t forget our collection of ideas. A part of the text reads like this: “. . . Watch as cranes with chains and hooks lift cartons and cages and library books! See the cranes with slings and straps lift cuckoo clocks and baseball caps.”

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I point this out to make a few points. The alliteration of cranes, cartons, cages, cuckoo clocks and caps would have been too much without the other words popped in to cushion them. This is only decided after many drafts and many readings aloud. The word cuckoo? I had a long list of clocks. Tower clocks and alarm clocks and mantel clocks and many more. I actually didn’t choose cuckoo for its alliteration. I chose it because it is fun to say. The addition of rhyme for this book came after the idea, after the loose use of repetition, and after the list of things a crane can pick up. I decided to layer it with rhyme after a straight prose approach didn’t seem playful enough to me.

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Rebecca Dotlich 3

Rhyme can engage the young child like nothing else. But the rhyme must be good, natural, easy. Never forced. What is forced rhyme? Many writers ask that. The answer is simple. An end rhyme must complete the thought the way you want it to, must express the idea you are truly trying to get across to the reader, not in a convoluted, these-two-words-rhyme, kind of way.

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The two picture books I highlighted here are as different as night and day. One is a lyrical, wondrous beauty of a picture story book. The other is a whimsical rhyming romp about a construction machine. Both are picture books, and both use poetic devices. One to tell a story, and the other to engage and entertain the child in a playful way.

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Children, and especially very young children, are enchanted by rhythm, rhyme and repetition. They almost feed off of predictable language patterns, being entranced by the sound of the words, the cadence of the line, and the delicious knowledge that they are exactly sure what’s coming next. Being able to chime in to jump rope and nursery rhymes, song lyrics, prayers and cheers has always been, and will always be, one of life’s purest joys. Lines from picture books do this too, and can they ever. From the youngest babe to the elderly grandfather, who doesn’t love to repeat the words to a poem or song they know, or once knew, or will forever know in the vault of their heart.

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Bio:
Rebecca Kai Dotlich grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books, making paper dolls and building snowmen. She is a children’s poet and picture book author of titles such as Bella and Bean (an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor) and What Is Science? (Subaru SB&F finalist and Bank Street’s Best Book of the year.) She gives poetry workshops, visits classrooms across the country, and speaks at conferences, retreats, libraries and schools to teachers, aspiring writers and students of all ages. Her books have received the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award as well as an IRA Children’s Choice and her work has been featured on Reading Rainbow and the PBS children’s show Between the Lions. She is the grandmother of four. Rebecca still reads comic books and builds snowmen. WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP? (Illustrated by Mike Lowery) received a *starred* review from Publisher’s Weekly. Following WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP? is ALL ABOARD! forthcoming in fall 2014.

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Rebecca Dotlich 4

 

Please enjoy this book trailer for What Can a Crane Pick Up?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkNoQ6TcVDs

 

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 Thank you Rebecca Kai Dotlich!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Wednesday April 2nd

By Angie Karcher © 2014

Lesson 4

 

First of all, this is a VERY long post so please don’t get overwhelmed…The rest of the posts will not all be nearly this long. I wanted to share the lyrics of several songs and that made it very long!

 

 Ballad

Folk ballads are the oldest type of poetry known. Traveling storytellers would often set stories to music, thus the ballad was born. Many older ballads are by anonymous authors as they were not written down but passed verbally from person to person. For this reason, there were many versions of the same story as each storyteller gave the story their own personal touches. Most ballads were about bravery, love, death and dark, depressing subjects.

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There are certain distinctive features that make up a ballad. It typically describes a dramatic event, has lots of action, but told in a simple way. Ballads were written by the working man for the working man to commiserate their difficult lives as laborers and hard-working folks. I found this ballad written by my favorite storyteller, James Taylor.

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This ballad, Millworker, is from a book titled WORKING by author Studs Terkel that was later made into a Broadway show. James Taylor wrote and performs this song titled Millworker.

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Studs Terkel

 

The Lyrics to Millworker by James Tylor

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/james+taylor/millworker_20069194.html

James Taylor

Mr. James Taylor 

My favorite storyteller! If you ever get a chance to see him in concert…Do it!

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Here is a Youtube Link to Millworker by James Taylor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vg2D714gn2w

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Often a ballad has a repeating refrain.

 

A Ballad is …a narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain. (Write this down)

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Now that you are really depressed after reading about the “Millworker,” I’ll share a few ballads that are a bit more uplifting. Yankee Doodle is one such ballad. We sang it as kids and teach it to kids today but even Yankee Doodle has a dark side.

I highlighted the lyrics in hot pink because it was written and sung by British troops in the mid 1700’s to taunt and make fun of Colonial troops about how femininely they dressed. The British thought that the Colonial soldiers were foolish, uneducated, unsophisticated men that spent too much time watching horse racing and socializing. Their clothing and floppy, feathered hats gained them the name “Macaronis” and was the source of teasing that inspired this “not-so-nice” ballad. Who knew?

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Yankee Doodle

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Yankee Doodle Lyrics Author Unknown

A       Yankee Doodle went to town

B      A-riding on a pony,

C       Stuck a feather in his cap

B       And called it macaroni.

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         Chorus:

A       Yankee Doodle keep it up,    

B       Yankee Doodle dandy,

C      Mind the music and the step,

B       And with the girls be handy.

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A       Father and I went down to camp,

B       Along with Captain Gooding,

C       And there we saw the men and boys

B       As thick as hasty pudding.

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      Chorus

A       There was Captain Washington,

B       Upon a slapping stallion,

C       Giving orders to his men-

B       I guess there were a million.

Rhyme Scheme is the pattern of rhymes used in a poem, usually marked by letters to symbolize corresponding ending sounds. (write this down)

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Yankee Doodle is written in a common ABCB Rhyme Scheme. This means that each line gets a letter that correlate with the ending words that rhyme to determine the rhyme scheme. If the ending words rhyme, those lines are given the same letter.

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A-Town

B-Pony

C-Cap

B-Macaroni

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These are the ending words in each line. Town doesn’t rhyme with anything so it gets the letter A by itself.

Pony and Macaroni rhyme so they both get the letter B

Cap doesn’t rhyme with anything so it gets the letter C by itself.

This rhyme scheme is ABCB.

Throughout the rest of the poem each stanza follows this scheme.

Yankee Doodle is written in 4-line stanzas.

A Stanza is a Rhyming pattern that forms a group (write this down)

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Another ballad you probably know is Clementine. This seems an obvious sad story written during the 1849 Gold Rush about a miner and his daughter. It is actually a humorous ballad written in a tongue-in-cheek style, making fun of the typical drama that accompanies most ballads. For example, Clementine’s feet are so big she has to wear boxes for shoes. Clementine managed to get a splinter in her toe and drown as her father didn’t know how to swim. So Clementine is a humorous, tragic ballad.

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Clementine

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Clementine Lyrics Author unknown

A       In a cavern, in a canyon,

B       Excavating for a mine

C       Dwelt a miner forty niner,

B       And his daughter Clementine

                  Chorus

A       Oh my darling, oh my darling,

B       Oh my darling, Clementine!

C       Thou art lost and gone forever

B       Dreadful sorry, Clementine

 

A       Light she was and like a fairy,

B       And her shoes were number nine

C       Herring boxes, without topses,

B       Sandals were for Clementine.

Chorus

A       Drove she ducklings to the water

B       Ev’ry morning just at nine,

C       Hit her foot against a splinter,

B       Fell into the foaming brine.

Chorus

A       Ruby lips above the water,

B       Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,

C       But, alas, I was no swimmer,

B       So I lost my Clementine.

Chorus

A       In a churchyard on a hillside

B       Where the flowers grow and twine

C       There grow roses amongst the posies

B       Flowers for my Clementine.

Chorus

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A Youtube Video of Clementine by Lew Dite on his Ukelele

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=RDRUzQy4mmT3Q&v=RUzQy4mmT3Q&feature=player_detailpage

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Some Ballad Resources:

http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-write-a-ballad-poem/

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/how-to-write-poetry.html

http://www.kirstymurray.com/mktblues/wrtpen/Ballads.gif

 

 

So why do we need to know about ballads? Because…they are easy to remember because of their rhyme and rhythm. Remember yesterday when we talked about how rhyme helps kids to remember words and parts of language? Well, when you sing a poem, a ballad, it helps you to remember the words. Music is a clue that helps us remember the words to the poem, or song.

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Plus, ballads are one of the earliest and most basic forms of storytelling. That is what we do. We are storytellers and can certainly learn from those who used music to capture their audience. Plus, Yankee Doodle was written in the 1700’s and Clementine in 1849. I hope someday a story I write is remembered, recited and discussed by writers 150 – 200 years from now!

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Cinquain [sing-keyn]

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A Cinquain is a stanza with five lines and each line has a required number of syllables.

2-4-6-8-2 syllables (Write this down)

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So, you may be wondering why I have plopped cinquains down so early in this process of learning about poetry? Ballads were a pretty straight forward concept and easy to understand their origin and why they are still enjoyed today.

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It’s time to get out of your comfort zone! We are going to jump right into the icy water with our clothes on! 1-2-3…JUMP!

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It’s because I want you to start really evaluating every word when you read a poem. Look for patterns, rhythms, syllables, rhymes, meanings, etc. The word cinquain sounds intimidating, as will many of the other words we learn. But, that doesn’t mean the concepts are hard…just new.

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It was developed by Adelaide Crapsey who probably borrowed the idea from Haiku. It is not difficult once you first, know what it is and second, know how to write one. Writing a cinquain is about following the rules. In fact writing poetry and rhyme is all about following the rules. All we have to do is learn the rules, write them down, glue them into our brain and then…follow them.

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The key to understanding a traditional cinquain is finding the syllable count. The beats-per-line is the syllable count. Clap your hands every time you hear a different vowel sound (A-E-I-O-U) of a word.

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Examples:

1 syllable    (Dog)

2 syllables   (Kit—ten)

3 syllables   (Cu—cum—ber)

4 syllables   (Wa—ter—me—lon)

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When counting the syllables in a line, you can count syllables in multiple words. For example: Upon a starry night

6 Syllables  (Up—on—a—star—ry—night)

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The rules of a cinquain are about the syllable count allowed in each line.

line 1 – 2 syllables

line 2 – 4 syllables

line 3 – 6 syllables

line 4 – 8 syllables

line 5 – 2 syllables

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Here is an example of a well-known cinquain.

November Night

By Adelaide Crapsey

2        Listen…

4        With faint dry sound

6        Like steps of passing ghosts,

8        the leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees

2        And fall.

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Notice these lines don’t rhyme. Remember when I said earlier that rhyme is really a small part of writing poetry? Well, now we are diving into the chilly water of BOM, BOM, BOM…THE NON-RHYMING ZONE!

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I want you to stop thinking about rhyme for a while and completely focus on everything else about the language. Read, hear, see, smell, taste and touch the words used. We will get to the rhyme later but for now, trust me and just follow the rules.

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Here is my first attempt at writing a traditional cinquain.

2        Sleeping.

4        My eyes are shut,

6        My brain won’t go to sleep.

8        The story doesn’t want to keep.

2        I’m up!

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Here’s Another

2        Lucy,

4        A dachshund kiss.

6        Her wagging tail, a smile,

8        Tilted head with begging banter.

2        A treat!

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This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun! There are many, many other more contemporary forms of cinquains that are written by many poets today. They have very strict rules and can get complicated quickly but if you follow the rules, one line at a time, you can do it! I found that the examples given were a huge help. To me, this is like doing a word search or a crossword puzzle. I love the challenge!

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Contemporary Cinquain

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Contemporary Cinquain Rules:

Use the same rules about syllables as for traditional but add the rules on the left as well.

 

One word title                                                                                 2 syllables

2 adjectives that describe the topic                                           4 syllables

3 words that express action                                                         6 syllables

4 words that express a feeling                                                     8 syllables

1 word that refers to the title                                                       2 syllables

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                                                                                                                      TOTAL 22 syllables

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My first attempt at a contemporary cinquain:

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Summer

Heated, desired

Melting winter sorrow

Gentle yearning for the morning

Sunshine                                                                        22 Syllables

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Another example:

FRIENDSHIP

Friend/ship

Pre/cious, awe/some

Bright/ens gloom/y mo/ments

Rain/bow’s treas/ure trove dis/cov/ered

Al/ways

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Some Cinquain Resources :

http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-cinquain-poem/

http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/cinquain.htm

http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/davidc/6c_files/Poem%20pics/cinquaindescrip.htm

 

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As I read over this post, I hope I’m not over explaining. Remember, I’m a kindergarten teacher by trade, and I’m used to working with 5 year olds. I apologize if anything sounds condescending or too simplified. As we have writers here of all experiences and abilities my hope is to keep things as simple as possible. Also, each blog post will hopefully stand alone as a lesson so if I repeat words or concepts that is the reason…plus repetition may help us remember better.

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I know this was a long post but we had a lot to cover and hopefully, the examples help to explain. We are still alive after jumping into the frozen waters of poetry but even though we might be shivering and shaky, we will live to see another poem. Stay warm! Spring is here…right!?

                                                                                                                  ~Angie

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Writing Prompts:

Write a short ballad about participating in RhyPiBoMo. Oh…the sorrow!

Write a Traditional Cinquain

And if you are feeling really brave write a Contemporary Cinquain

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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.

 

 

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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