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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