Write, Edit, Revise, Critique, Repeat! Wednesday

Write, Edit, Revise, Critique, Repeat! Wednesday       Day 32

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Remember, the Webinar with Mira and Sudipta was rescheduled

Mira's Bear

Join us for our special “Why All Writers Need to Know Poetic Techniques and How to Use Them” webinar, on Monday, May 12th, at 6:00 PM! Reserve your spot today for this important event hosted by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Dr. Mira Reisberg to learn about:

• The 3 critical things people who rhyme need to know
• How poetic techniques are needed in today’s contemporary children’s book writing whether you write in rhyme or not.

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See more at: http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/why-all-writers-need-to-know-poetic-techniques-and-how-to-use-them-free-webinar.html

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Meet the amazing Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author of Chicks Run Wild, Hampire,

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, and 32 other books.

Hear from Dr. Mira Reisberg, Literary Agent and Children’s Book Academy founder

as she shares some of the pleasures of poetry.

Register here to reserve your spot for the webinar!!
https://wj168.infusionsoft.com/app/page/free_poetry_webinar

Poetry course

Mira and Sudipta also have a Poetry Course coming up…I hope I see you there!

The Craft and Pleasures of Writing Poetry for Kids
From Storyteller to Exquisite Writer: The Pleasures and Craft of Poetic Techniques!
http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/the-great-discounts-pleasures-and-craft-of-poetic-techniques.html
An extraordinary, interactive e-Course that runs from
May 19th through June 23rd 2014.
That’s 5 glorious weeks of exceptional instruction and a possibly life-changing adventure!
Special discounts end May 5th! – See more at: http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/the-great-discounts-pleasures-and-craft-of-poetic-techniques.html#sthash.3w54DvZB.dpuf

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I have been looking forward to this post all month! Today’s guest blogger is the reason we are all here. She is the agent who suggested that I study and learn more about poetry to become a more effective rhyming picture book author.

The story of RhyPiBoMo has now come full circle!
Have you ever met Mira Reisberg?
If you have, you know exactly what I’m going to say…she is such a wonderful, generous and exemplary teacher!
I met Mira last fall when I won a scholarship to her course, The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books.” Mira offered daily lessons, weekly webinars, a Facebook Group, critique groups and access to the information for months. It was my first experience with such a comprehensive course…it changed my writing goals!
You must take her courses to see for yourself how she will impact your future!

Did I mention that she is called the Picture Book Whisperer? It’s because of all the success her former students have had!

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Next, I won a scholarship to her course The Hero’s Art Journey (Okay, I’m sure you are wondering how I was so lucky, right. Mira often offers contests for scholarships for upcoming courses on various blogs. I won both courses through contests)
Mira and the fabulous Maya Gonzalaz taught the course. I am not an illustrator but have artistic ability. I had never considered illustrating until I took this course. I can’t really explain what happened but it was truly magical. There was a group of about 10 – 12 of us that became very close during the class. It was such a safe, nurturing environment for friendship and creativity.

Mira and Maya created this cocoon of respect, encouragement, joy and sharing that

I have never experienced in my life!

Humm

My digital painting inspired by Mira, who loves hummingbirds!

Not only did my writing change because of Mira, my life has changed because of her! I am so much more focused on my writing goals and I am determined to succeed in this fairy tale-rhyming-picture-book-world we live in!
I absolutely can’t wait to take the new poetry class coming in May! I’m ready to be a student for a while!

I hope I see many of you there as well!
So, it is with great pleasure and admiration that I warmly welcome my mentor and friend…Mira Reisberg

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

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Mira Reisberg!

   Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge   Mira Reisberg

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Why Editors and Agents Hate Rhymes and What You Can Do About It

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Rhyming is hard–really hard. Unless you are a naturally brilliant poet or you have studied the mechanics involved AND you have a really killer story AND the skills to make the inevitable revisions, editors will not be thrilled to receive your manuscript.

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Writing a wonderful story is already difficult. Writing a wonderful story that rhymes is way harder. Now, some of what follows might already be familiar but hopefully, there will be something new and helpful.

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First, I want to start with why those of us who work editorially hate working with rhyming stories that aren’t just about perfect already.

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If you are submitting a rhyming story, as a writer there is a certain skill set that you need to acquire that accompanies this mode of storytelling. You need to be able to address: meter, pacing, rhythm, beats and syllable counts. Rhyming is the foundation of song and so it is essential to understand the mechanics that enable a series of phrases to fit together fluidly.

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When rhyming works, it is beyond fabulous. It can make a funny book hilarious or a soulful book sublime. Children gravitate to the rhythm of the words; it actually benefits them developmentally. Rhymes can make reading aloud infinitely more pleasurable. And when it’s done really well, it can make luscious language all that much more delicious. So how can you make your rhyming story sizzle?

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Here’s a cheat sheet of things you can do:

• Make sure your story hangs together independent of the rhyme. Consider your big tools of P.O.V, character and plot development, setting etc. The rhyme is the mode or device that you use to tell the story.

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• Make sure your syntax is correct (the order of the words in a sentence)

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• Make sure that you aren’t using a word just because it rhymes. If it’s not the perfect word, change the whole couplet or stanza.

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• Use repetition: “Good Night, Moon/ Good Night, Spoon”

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• Use alliteration: “Mandy’s magical marker made her artwork sing.” Be careful not to overuse this device. If it is too difficult to say out loud at bedtime, parents won’t read it.

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• Use assonance and onomotapeoia (matching the internal sounds of words–cart/march making sound words–Whoosh)

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• Don’t get married to your words or rhymes, no matter how much you love them; let go of anything that doesn’t sing. After all, rhymes are meant to be chanted or sung.

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• Have fun with it. Use the great online rhyming resources like rhymezone.com

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• Take our Writing Poetry for Picture Books course with the brilliant Supita Bardhen-Quallen. Really. You will learn a great deal about what works and what doesn’t as we mentor you through writing your own story.

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Once you have a draft of your rhyming story, there are some other tricks you can employ or angles you can consider. Try having a friend read it to you so you can hear it. There is a musical quality we gravitate towards as listeners and that is a key element in composing a great rhyming story. Read a ton of rhyming stories, both traditional children’s poetry like limericks as well as new work. This will help develop your ear and give you a sense of pacing, meter, rhythm and overall flow. Transcribe some of these to do word counts and learn the structure when you type it up. Take risks, be adventurous, let go if it doesn’t work. Embrace it if it does.

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We will be covering all the important aspects of rhyming in the upcoming annual

“From Storyteller to Exquisite Writer: The Pleasures and Craft of Poetic Techniques!” with Sudipta Barden-Quallen” (and for this upcoming course in May, me and Mandy Yates will assist as well). Here are a few topics we will be covering:

• Why poetry and rhyming stories are important for children in terms of development
• Discussion of the various types of poetry and how they fit into children’s literature
• What makes a good story and how rhyming can aid or inhibit it
• Analyzing pacing and rhyme
• Energizing your rhymes for maximum fun
• Tips on researching editors and agents

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Whether we realize it or not, poetry is in our bones; it is a universal technique that humans have always used to tell stories and this one of the reasons why children love it. While it requires some additional knowledge, it is worth it to have these tools in your literary tool kit because rhyme is a great way to energize your story.

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Bio:
Dr. Mira Reisberg is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, author, art director, editor, former children’s literature professor and children’s book mentor with 26 years of experience in the industry. Following the success of many of her Children’s Book Academy students she founded Hummingbird Literary. Mira is phasing out of teaching to focus on agenting but is excited about live co-teaching the Pleasures and Craft of Writing Poetry for Kids with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, and assisted by Mandy Yates in May.

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For more information on upcoming courses please visit:
http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/

 

Thank You Mira Reisberg!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Wednesday, April 30th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 32

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Edit, Revise, Have it Critiqued, Edit, Revise, Have it Critiqued…

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Boy, do I feel like we have talked about this! We have covered editing in terms of poetry but it is not much different for rhyming picture books.

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The Basics are:
-Write your first draft until you get it all out not worrying about anything but getting it out of your brain.
-Put it away for a week
-Dust it off, use the sticky note graphic and go to town editing!
-Once you have it as tight as you think you can, submit it to your critique group.
-Do you need to have a critique group? YES!!!
-If a critique group is too overwhelming for you, find a critique partner
YOUABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE SOMEONE REVIEW YOUR WORK!
-Once your crit group has covered it with red marks to be fixed, Fix it!
– Then Put it away again.
-While your manuscript is marinating, research editors to submit it to.
-At least a week later, pull it out and prepare it for submission.
We will discuss the submission part more on Saturday.

write drunk, edit sober
Apparently Ernest Hemmingway didn’t say this…he was never sober! LOL

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There is a famous saying among writers, “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” I won’t say that this is my normal routine but I do think I write with more flair and less inhibitions after a glass of red wine…but that’s just me!

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Here is an article written by Jane Yolen on editing and revising rhyming manuscripts. She suggests for us to edit our manuscript as if it is a poem…that cuts the words down for sure! I love this idea!

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From Jennifer Jensen’s Blog A Better Place to Talk
https://suite.io/jennifer-jensen/34sc25q

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Can you believe that we only have 3 days left together?

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It has gone so fast and I can’t tell you how much I am going to miss you guys when it’s over. I won’t lie though…I am ready for a break from the daily lesson research grind and blogging schedule brutality. It doesn’t sound like I had fun, but I did! I will have so much free time…to write!!! I am planning on blogging once a week.

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More importantly, I learned so much while I was researching and sharing the lessons. I knew that once I committed to this event, I would jump in, feet first, and swim with the big fish…There were a few moments of trying to keep my head above water and hypothermia set in about mid-way through but I survived and so did you! I know it was a lot of information…but that is what we needed to learn to improve our writing.

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We, together, have accomplished something very big! We may be the biggest group of rhyming picture book writers ever to gather for an entire month and study our craft…that is an accomplishment! Historic!!! LOL

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That being said, there are some things I will do differently next year. I would appreciate your feedback on how improve this writing challenge so you and others will return again next April.

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Some things I’m thinking about for the future:
-Only have Guest Bloggers /Daily Lessons on week days…this will give us time to catch our breath on the weekends.
-I want to create an ebooklet of the daily lesson material covered
-I want to offer multiple categories for the poetry contest
-I want to offer critique partner options
-I want to do a few RhyPiBoMo mini-events throughout the year
-I want to host RhyPiBoMo Saturday workshops/weekend conferences in person
-I want RhyPiBoMo to be the #1 resource for rhyming picture book authors…
-I want to offer reviews of the rhyming picture books on our amazing list that we read this month and continue to grow the list!

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RhyPiBoMo Questionnaire
I created a questionnaire for you to complete…this is your writing prompt today!
I really do need your help and feedback so RhyPiBoMo will grow and continue to help writers. I do want to emphasize that I never intended to make money on this event. That is still not my goal but I did learn that it costs money to host an event and run contests. So, I have asked for advice from several authors who use their blog as a platform for their writing and to help others. It was suggested that I try to generate some income so that this new venture will grow…I would LOVE to offer a Saturday or weekend RhyPiBoMo workshops…That would be the ultimate best because I would actually get to meet you all!
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I’m also thinking about how my blog can help promote you as writers and especially when your rhyming picture books get published! I’m working on that!
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I’m hoping to generate some relationships with editors that we can submit to…that if a writer has participated and completed RhyPiBoMo that would hold merit for an editor. Just as we put down that we belong to SCBWI to show our professionalism and our focus to learn, putting down RhyPiBoMo Participant will show your commitment to writing poetry and rhyming picture books.
I’m very open to your ideas and your suggestions to improve this rhyming-baby so please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire now!

PLEASE!

 

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Thank You RhyPiBoMoers!

 

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

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo 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.

Anapests and Dactyls All Around! Friday

The Webinar is one week from today…Don’t miss it!

Interesting Image

 

Join us for our special “3 Things You Must Know About Writing Rhyming Kids’ Books” webinar, on Friday, April 25th, at 6:00 PM! Pacific Time

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Link for the live webinar

https://wj168.infusionsoft.com/app/page/free_poetry_webinar

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Reserve your spot today for this important event hosted by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Dr. Mira Reisberg to learn about:

• The 3 critical things people who rhyme need to know

• How poetic techniques can improve your own writing whether you write in rhyme or not.

• Meet the amazing Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author of Chicks
Run Wild, Hampire and 34 other books.

• Hear from Dr. Mira Reisberg, Agent/Children’s Book Academy founder as she shares some of the pleasures of poetry.

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Mira and Sudipta have invited RhyPiBoMoers as their

special guests so reserve your spot now by clicking the link above!

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Today’s guest blogger is an amazing writer who has published over 34 books…that’s a lot of writing wisdom and talent, all wrapped up in one person! I am so pleased to have her here to share a bit of her writing knowledge with us!

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

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen!

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        Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge      Sudipta B Quallan 1

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Sing A Different Tune and Make Your Rhyme Sing

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I struggled with the title of this post. I wanted to create something catchy, something idiomatic, something that tied into the theme of my post, about songwriting vs. writing in rhyme and what one can teach us about the other. I’m not sure that really worked, but at least now you have an introduction to what I’ll be talking about.

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If you’re interested in writing picture books in rhyme, you’ve probably already heard someone tell you to make your rhyme sing!” That advice, though well-intended, often gets across the wrong point. People start to think that rhyming picture books should sound like songs. And why not? Song lyrics rhyme. They flow to the beat of the music. So if your picture book text sounds like song lyrics, you’re on the right track, no?

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The answer is NO.

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Songwriting is a beautiful art. But if you follow the same rules that song writers do, you won’t end up with a very good picture book – and not just because picture book writers use fewer repetitions of “baby,” “ooh,” and “tonight.” The thing is, picture book writers have to be much more strict about the rules of rhyme and meter – we don’t get away with the things that songwriters get away with.

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Here are some lyrics from Collide, written by Kevin Griffin and Howie Day (I like using this refrain as an example because it actually references when “the wrong words seem to rhyme”!):

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[The first refrain]
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide

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[the second refrain]
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide

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The rhyme scheme in the first iteration of the refrain is AABBC (I’m giving the songwriters a pass on the near rhyme of “sometimes” and “rhyme”), but then the second time around, it becomes ABACD. Very, very inconsistent (and, if I can say, lots of wrong words that only seem to rhyme!). Now, there is assonance in all these end words (sometimes/rhyme/mind/find/collide and sometimes/shine/time/find/collide), and in the context of the song, the assonance works. But assonance isn’t rhyme, and when you just try to read the lyrics, they don’t sound as good without the music.

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When you look at the meter, the songwriters become even more inconsistent. When the lyrics are sung, the stressed fall on the bolded syllables:

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Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide

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The singer speeds though the extra syllables of “even the” and “out of the” and then uses a long pause and filler music to create an extra beat between the end of the 4th line and the beginning of the 5th.

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When we write a rhyming picture book, we don’t get to fill in gaps with extra music, or speed through extra syllables to make the rhythm consistent.

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When we write a rhyming picture book, we don’t get to use assonance or consonance in the place of true rhymes.

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If you want your rhyming picture book to sing, you have to avoid writing it like a song.

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After telling you everything about songwriting you shouldn’t repeat in your picture book, let me just tell you one thing that songwriters get really right: the refrain.

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Most songs are arranged roughly like this:

First verse
Refrain
Second verse
Refrain
Bridge
Refrain

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Structurally, the refrain helps to delineate different sections/verses of the song – it signals the listener that the previous verse has ended and he is about to hear a new verse. Sometimes the refrain is identical in every iteration. But more often, the refrain alters slightly every time we hear it – and the alteration supports the narrative of the song.

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Here’s the first refrain of Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me:

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If you could see that I’m the one who understands you.
Been here all along. So, why can’t you see—
You belong with me, you belong with me?

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The last time, however, the refrain changes slightly:

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Can’t you see that I’m the one who understands you?
Been here all along. So, why can’t you see—
You belong with me?

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Even if you don’t know the song, you could probably tell that at the beginning, she is trying to convince him to see she’s the one for him – and by the end, she’s frustrated that he still doesn’t see it. Just the subtle change in the wording of the refrain really drives that home.

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If you’re looking for examples of the refrain done well in picture books, study Karma Wilson’s BEAR SNORES ON, Bill Martin, Jr’s CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM, and maybe even my CHICKS RUN WILD.

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In Conclusion

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You’re getting lots of great tips this month on writing great rhyming picture books. It truly is an art form, and a distinct art form from anything else. If nothing else, I hope this post helps you see our art as being as unique as it truly is!

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PS
For a really interesting read, check out this article in Slate called What is the most common rhyme in the history of pop music? (by Ben Blatt).

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http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/02/justin_bieber_and_the_beatles_they_both_liked_to_rhyme_the_same_words.html

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Here are some of the rhyming pairs Mr Blatt references:
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Do/You
Be/Me
Me/See
True/You
Baby/Me
Go/Know
Through/You
Around/Down *
Night/Right
Mind/Time *
To/You
Mine/Time *
Day/Way
Free/Me
Away/Day
Say/Way
Away/Say
Too/You
Be/See
Gone/On
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Don’t tell Mr Blatt, but none of the pairs marked with an asterisk actually rhymes.

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Bio:
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is an award-winning children’s book author whose books include Duck Duck Moose, Orangutangled, Snoring Beauty, and Tyrannosaurus Wrecks. She visits schools around the country to talk about the craft of writing to children of all ages. “Every book is an autobiography” is a favorite saying of hers, and a big part of her message is that everyone, grownup or child, has a story that is interesting and compelling — if you can find the right words to tell it. Sudipta lives outside Philadelphia with her children and an imaginary pony named Penny. You can learn more about her and her books on her website http://www.sudipta.com or at her blog http://www.NerdyChicksRule.com.

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Here are just a few of Sudipta’s Books…

Sudipta B Quallan 2     Orangutangled

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Snoring Beauty           Tyrannosaurus

 

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Thank you Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Friday, April 18th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 20

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More Feet?

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Yes, 2 more…

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The reason that there are so many types of feet is that there is a need in poetry to express a variety of emotions and actions. These rhythms enable poets to examine rhythmic patterns and express these in commonly understood terms.

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Dacty – is a metrical foot consisting of one long and two short syllables or of one stressed and two unstressed syllables. Dactylic rhythm is the direct opposite of trochaic in that it has one hard beat followed by two soft beats as can be heard in the word HAP-pen-ing. The first syllable “hap” is hard and the last two, “pen” and “ing” are soft. (write this down)

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Pronunciation: Dak-tull
The stressed syllables are in all caps

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For example:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, which is in dactylic hexameter:

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THIS is the / FOR-est prim- / E-val. The / MUR-mur-ing / PINES and the / HEM-locks/

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Dactyl/Dactyl/Dactyl/Dactyl/Dactyl/Trochee

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LONG-short-short/ LONG-short-short/ LONG-short-short/ LONG-short-short/LONG-

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short-short/LONG-short-short/

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DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/

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For example:
Robert Browning’s The Lost Leader – 1st line

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JUST for a/HAND-ful of/SIL-ver he/left us

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*LONG-short-short/ LONG-short-short/ LONG-short-short/LONG-short/

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Dactyl/Dactyl/Dactyl/Trochee

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DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da-da/DUM-da

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Foot Type                      Style Stress pattern                                        Syllable Count

Dactyl/Dactylic          Stressed + Unstressed + Unstressed     Three

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Anapest – is a metrical foot composed of two unaccented syllables followed by one accented syllable or two short syllables followed by one long one, as in the word se-ven-TEEN.(write this down)

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Pronunciation: Ann-uh-pest
The stressed syllables are in all caps

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For example:
Clement Clarke Moore’s Twas the Night Before Christmas

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twas the NIGHT/ be-fore CHRIST/mas, when ALL/ through the HOUSE/
short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG
da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/

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not a CREA/ture was Stir/ring not E/ven a MOUSE/
short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG/short-short-LONG
da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/da-da-DUM/

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Foot Type                            Style Stress pattern                                             Syllable Count
Anapest/Anapestic      Unstressed + Unstressed + Stressed          Three

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Writing Prompt:If you want some real practice, divide this familiar poem into feet as above. This may be easier for you to hear the stressed and unstressed syllables as it is a familiar poem that is normally recited out loud.

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap-
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys – and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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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

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo 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.

Musicality in Writing Monday

Can you believe that Wednesday is the halfway point?

Where did those 2 weeks go?

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Remember…

This Wednesday, April 16th, is the last day to register for RhyPiBoMo!

Don’t forget… if you have been following along and reading the blogs, this will make you eligible to win a daily prize donated by one of our guest bloggers. Comment each day you participate and your name will go into the drawing.

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I should also mention that you need to clear your schedule on

Friday, April 25th at 6:00 pm PST

for

Mira Reisberg and Sudipta Bardhan-Quallan’s live Webinar

3 Things You Must Know About Writing Rhyming Kids’ Books!

You won’t want to miss this!

And they have a marvelous Poetry class coming up too! How do I know it’s marvelous? Because I’ve taken Mira’s Courses before…enough said! This dynamic duo will knock our rhyming socks off!

http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/

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Poetry course

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I’ve known today’s guest blogger for many years. We probably met at the very first writing conference I ever attended, back in 2002. She was a Regional Adviser for Indiana SCBWI, before moving to Missouri, where she continues do school visits and author events. I was proud to ask my friend to join this group of wonderful bloggers as she definitely deserves to be included!

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

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Peggy Archer!

     Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge   Peggy Archer

Are You Naturally Musical?

I love music. Which is not to say that I’m ‘naturally’ musical. My husband and I line dance. He’s a much better dancer than I am. But if you can count to 4, you can line dance. Listening to the music helps, because you can ‘feel’ the rhythm.

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As with dancing, I’m sometimes challenged when it comes to rhythm in a poem. Like counting the steps in a line dance, I count syllables. I look at where the stress falls in the lines. But sometimes this backfires. It becomes too structured. It takes the music out of the poem.

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Try clapping to the ‘music’ of your poem. Let’s try it with ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm.’

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Old MacDonald had a farm

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E-i-e-i-o!

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And on his farm he had a cow… Uh oh! There’s an extra syllable at the beginning of this line!

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But like in music, sometimes you can slip in an extra syllable, sort of like a musical grace note.

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I think songs must be difficult to write. But because you hear it performed, everyone ‘gets’ the rhythm just the way the writer meant it! Not so with a poem. Because a poem is left to the voice of the reader.

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So how do you know if your reader will ‘get’ the rhythm that you intend? Read your poem out loud. Listen to how it sounds. Do you trip up on any of the words?

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You’ve read your poem out loud, and it sounds great! But will another person read your poem the same way?

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Say the word “seal.” Do you say it with one or two syllables?
How about ‘shuffling’ or ‘twinkling.’ Do you pronounce them with two syllables or three?
Do you say address or address?

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One way to see if your rhythm works for the reader is to ask someone else to read your poem out loud. Do they put the stress in the same places that you do? Do they trip up anywhere? If you need to, you could try rearranging the words, adding or deleting syllables, or using a different word altogether to make it flow.

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To create ‘music’ in your poetry, listen to the ‘sound’ of your words.

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Do you want your poem to have a soft or sentimental quality? Use more of the ‘soft’ letters of the alphabet.

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Over my arm
She softly flows—
cinnamon coat
And whiskery nose… (from “Hampster Hide-and-Seek” by Avis Harley)

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Or do you want something more concrete? Use more of the ‘hard’ letters in your words.
Down in the dungeon,
dark and deep… (from “Down in the Dungeon” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich)

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Can you hear the difference? Soft sounding consonants are: R, J, M, N, S, V, W. Hard sounding consonants are K, D, Q, T, B, P. The letters C and G can be either soft or hard.

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In my picture book, TURKEY SURPRISE, the pilgrim brothers have a song that they sing. It starts out—
We’re two mighty pilgrims
Coming your way…

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But I wrote a poem, not a song. After the book was published, a friend of mine read it to her daughter’s second grade class, and she sang the pilgrim’s song! “It works perfectly to the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme song!” she said.

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Maybe I am a bit ‘naturally’ musical! Words dance in my head and I sing from my soul. It’s getting it to sound like that on paper that’s the hard part. Eventually I get it. I just have to remember to listen to the music.

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poetry selections from A PET FOR ME POEMS, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, HarperCollins 200

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BIO
Peggy Archer grew up and spent most of her life in Northwest Indiana. She currently lives in O’Fallon, Missouri with her husband. She writes fiction, poetry and non-fiction for children and her work has been published in several children’s magazines.

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Peggy enjoys speaking to children and adults about books and writing. Her speaking experience includes elementary school through high school, and guest speaker at conferences and events for children’s writers.
When she is not writing, Peggy enjoys reading, walking and spending time with her grandchildren and her family.

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Her picture books include:

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Dogs

Dial Books for Young Readers 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322
also carried by Scholastic Book Club

• Name That Dog!, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010
Name That Dog! was nominated for the 2012 Utah Beehive Award for Poetry, was on Grandparents.com’s Best Collections of Poetry Spring 2010. Name That Dog! is on the accelerated reader list at Renaissance Learning, and is on the Scholastic Book Club list.

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Dawn to dreams

Candlewick Press 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2467-5

• From Dawn to Dreams, Poems for Busy Babies, Candlewick Press 2007
From Dawn to Dreams received a letter of merit from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant committee in 2002 and was nominated for the 2007 Cybil Award in the category of Children’s Poetry.

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Turkey Surprise

Dial Books for Young Readers
Illustrated by Thor Wickstrom
ISBN: 0-8037-2969-3
Puffin Books paperback edition
ISBN: 978-0-14-240852-0

• Turkey Surprise, Dial Books for Young Readers 2005
Turkey Surprise appeared on the NY Times Bestsellers list for children’s paperback books in November 2007 and was on Baker & Taylor’s Books for Growing Minds list in 2005. It is on the accelerated reader list at Renaissance Learning.

 

Thank you Peggy Archer!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Monday, April 14th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 16

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Are you Naturally Musical?

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The gal in this video talks for about 8 minutes about why you should never say that you are NOT musically talented…She’s funny and yet, really sincere and I think everything she is saying about singing can be applied to writing poetry and rhyme. I think everyone can learn to feel the rhythm in music and in your words. It just takes practice, a never-give-up attitude and the desire to learn.

 

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Weeks ago, before I started writing these lessons, I was stuck, waiting on a train one night and listening to the radio in my van. Jim Brickman’s music/talk show was on and he was talking about his creative process. I attended a concert of his once and he is amazingly talented!

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I was stunned to learn that he does not typically read or write music. That’s not to say that he hasn’t learned the basics of it but generally, as a rule, he plays from the heart. He said that he hears a tune in his head and then hums or sings the tune into his phone recording ap if he’s away from the piano. Then, when he gets home, he sits down at the piano and the notes just come out. He said he knows it’s good if he remembers it without having to retrieve his phone recording.
He said he can play it over and over without ever writing it down.

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When asked how he manages to work with musicians, singers and full orchestras in his professional life he says that he pays someone else to write it down and create the scores for the others involved. The score writer listens to him play and puts it down on paper.

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Jim Brickman is naturally, musically talented.

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Jim Brickman

Jim Brickman

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Here is just a sampling of information from his official website:

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“Jim Brickman wouldn’t play by the rules. Literally. He was 8, taking private lessons from a piano teacher down the street from his parents’ Cleveland suburb home, but little Jimmy Brickman wouldn’t conform to the rudimentary regulations of piano playing, even after his piano teacher told his mother he “didn’t have the knack for this.” By the age of 12, Brickman found his mentor in the creative tutelage of a Cleveland Institute of Music graduate. As a child, Brickman had studied music at the prestigious conservatory and was honored in 2011 when the Cleveland Institute of Music established a scholarship in his name.

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That’s all this Shaker Heights, Ohio native needed to set his career in motion, and more than two decades later, Jim Brickman would become the most commercially successful instrumental pop pianist of the last three decades. Four of his albums have been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America – 1995’s By Heart, 1997’s Picture This and The Gift, and 1999’s Destiny – for sales of more than 500,000 copies. Overall, he’s sold more than 7 million albums.
He’s amassed 27 Top 40 singles on the adult contemporary charts, including 14 Top 10 smashes. – And…and…and…”

See more at:

http://www.jimbrickman.com/Home/About.aspx#sthash.Hft2oRD7.dpuf

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I share this with you because this is what being naturally talented is…
That being said, there are hundreds of thousands of successful, talented musicians who learned to read and play music the traditional way and are very successful at their chosen professions.

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His music teacher said that he didn’t have what it takes to play the piano…woops!

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How many people have told you NOT to write rhyming picture books?

Dr. Seuss got 27 rejections for AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET before he found his publisher.

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Mulberry Street

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My challenge for you today: Prove them wrong!

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This means that if you were not born with the natural talent to hear or feel the rhythm in your writing, it is still a goal worth attempting. You can easily learn how to feel the sound and musicality in words as you can in music…

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What does it take? Practice! Practice! Practice!

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And then Practice some more!

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We have learned a lot of the technical stuff about poetry and its involvement in the words we use to write for children. Now, it’s up to you to take what is available here and apply it to your words. You must believe that you can do it!

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I think what the funny lady in the video above was trying to express is stay positive, don’t bring yourself or others down by saying things like, “I have no rhythm” or “I can’t do this because I wasn’t born with that gene’

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We all must use our strengths to our advantage and fight even harder to overcome our weaknesses when it’s something worth doing!

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I share this quote with you by Mr. Dan Romano…

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“Music is the hardest kind of art. It doesn’t hang up on a wall and wait to be stared at and enjoyed by passersby. It’s communication. It’s hours and hours being put into a work of art that may only last, in reality, for a few moments…but if done well, and truly appreciated, it lasts in our hearts forever. That’s art. Speaking with your heart to the hearts of others.”

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The very same thing can be said for writing an exceptional rhyming picture book!

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Writing rhyming picture books, in my opinion, is the hardest genre of books to write…it’s poetry, it’s picture book, it’s oral literature, it’s early reader material, it’s the introduction to language and then some! That’s a lot of responsibility.

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You have landed here, on my blog for a reason. A spark fell from the sky and touched your soul and you consciously decided to see if you have what it takes.

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I’m thrilled to have you here with me on this journey and I know that you will figure out what path is best for you.

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Today’s post was really just a giant pep talk…I was a cheerleader back in 1985 and once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader! So…Go! Go! Go! And write that magical, rhyming picture book jam-packed full of all the alliteration, onomatopoeia and poetic devices possible, until it is bursting at the seams with your heart…your heart speaking to the heart of others!

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While you are writing today, listen to this album. Pretend that each note is a carefully chosen word in a picture book. The crescendos and the diminuendos are the conflict, the refrain is what keeps the plot moving and the big climax ending of the song is the conflict resolution. Close your eyes and listen.

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Writing Prompt: Now, make your words musical and joyful, like these songs.

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Jim Brickman – By Heart (Full Album)

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Enjoy!