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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Rabbit Stu on February 9, 2008

No More Rhyming, and I Mean It!

This post isn't a poem. For once. It's also not fiction. It's some thoughts on rhyming, which really ought to go in a discussion forum. But we don't have a discussion forum. Yet.

I'm trying to make Doug feel loads of guilt,
Because he hasn't yet got that forum built.

Of course, that little two line poem could be written in a different way, like this:

Doug hasn't yet got that forum built,
So I'm trying to make him feel loads of guilt.

Which of the two do you think is better? In my mind, there's no question which is better: the first one, I think, is far superior to the second.

Why? Because the first one sounds like the two rhyming words (guilt and built) belong together. The second one sounds like I was desperate to find a word that rhymes with built.

I started out with the word "built" - I knew my little poem was going to be about Doug getting the forum built. So, having that word in mind, I started casting about for a word that rhymes with "built", and immediately came up with "guilt".

An obvious pair, which can easily be put together in a sensible way.

My first thought was about "built", not "guilt", and since the main thrust of the poem is about building, and not about guilt, my natural tendency is to put the BUILT line first.

But when I do that, the rhyme sounds forced. It sounds like I was trying too hard to make things rhyme. Of course, if I put "built" in the second line, since that's the "stronger" of the two rhyming words, there's nothing forced about it.

So I look at the couplet again and try to see if I can rearrange the order of the words to make my stronger word and stronger idea fit the second line.

It's sort of a backwards way of doing things, since the line with the stronger idea is the one that I thought of first, but it works well for me to try to swap it to last place. I think it makes my poems flow much better.

Of course, once in awhile the "tacked on" rhyme can be used for great comedic effect...

Anybody want a peanut?

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