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6

Authors often look to synonym dictionaries to find words different than what first occurs to them, but this is generally NOT to achieve rhythm, but to find a more accurate or evocative word for what they really mean. The reason is that synonyms do not mean the same thing. They are only close, each one has different overtones. For example, Virtuous, Moral, ...


6

Poetry is like music There is a tension in a song, between fulfilling an expectation and subverting or consciously breaking it. However, there has to be enough that's recognizable as a "background" against which your expectation-breaking is happening. In poetry, the rhythm and rhyme patterns are not the focus, but the background that remains reliable. ...


6

Anapestic meter doesn't necessarily start with a complete foot, often leaving off the first syllable, and this verse isn't completely consistent. There's a non-anapest in the third line. his EYES are as GREEN as a FRESH pickled TOAD his HAIR is as DARK as a BLACKboard I WISH he was MINE, he's TRUly divINE the HERo who CONquered the DARK lord As far as an ...


5

It's perfectly acceptable and there are published children's books that mix rhyme and prose. However, the switch between prose and rhyme can be jarring if you don't mentally prepare the reader for the switch by formatting the work in a way that readies them for what's to come. Your dialogue example doesn't rhyme (I'm a bit confused by that) so forgive me ...


5

In my view, pacing in general is less about how many events happen at once, and more about how the details are fed to the reader. It also has to do with how well we manage the reader's excitement level If you're asking about how many events happen in a week - Trust your instincts but fiction is not real life - there will be more events in fiction than real ...


5

At its strictest, iambic pentameter is just as rigid as you've described. "Poetry" is a dactyl (X-/-/), not an iamb (/-X), hence it shouldn't fit anywhere in an iamb-only sequence. Likewise, by the "strictest" definition, each word has a single primary stress, making the use of many polysyllabic words impossible by definition. That said, "stress" seems to ...


5

1) You're trying to write your final polished draft on your first shot. It won't happen. Focus on one goal at a time. First determine your substance. Then organize it. Then write it. Never mind how it sounds. Just get it on paper. Your inner editor is becoming an inner censor. You can fix it later. Give yourself permission to suck. 2) "Clear and coherent" ...


5

I agree with both of those facts; the issue is actually about syllable distribution in music. You'll need to let go of several assumptions: Lyrics are not speech, nor are they precisely written poetry; they flow at the pace of the music and do not have to conform to normal speech patterns (unless you want them to); therefore you can shorten or elongate the ...


4

Experience and the capability to learn. There's no formula for what you want. Good luck!


4

The principles you must rely on are plausibility and connectedness. For example, in the space of 30 minutes I can have ten bad things happen to somebody, if they are connected to each other. A warning light comes on in the cabin of their airplane. An engine explodes. It damages the aircraft, they are too high and don't have enough oxygen. The pilot passes ...


4

Find yourself an audience. Here's a situation where it's impossible to guess based on your description. We have no way of knowing if your poem is a hot mess, a psychedelic journey, or an literary analysis adventure. Maybe it's brilliant, or maybe it just needs a good editor. So find friends and family who enjoy poetry and will be honest with you. Join a ...


4

Put your pauses wherever you wish but know that they will tell the reader how to read it. Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Or at least imagined so in the mind. Tell your reader how and where to pause. A comma. A final punctuating mark (period, exclamation mark, question mark). A line break. A stanza break. These are the primary methods by which a poet ...


4

The problem here is that you're trying to combine two different approaches to poetry together, and perhaps in the wrong order. Your rough draft takes an intuitive approach, listening for the inner music of the poem. Your final draft is structured and rule-obeying, but it's comparatively clunky and infelicitous. Try swapping 3 and 4. Write to rule in ...


4

This is a tricky one, as the advice would usually be "write however feels natural to you". But I want to help, so I'll try. Writing, by its nature, is an art. It's subjective - especially when we're talking about a "style". A style isn't always quantifiable, like grammar for example. Style is nuanced and ambiguous, often difficult to put ...


3

Secondary stress in poetic meter gets promoted (or emphasized) when surrounded by non-stressed syllables: His po e try was bad vs. His po etry hurt Linguistically speaking the English language has 3 or 4 levels of stress (depending on who you ask). Poetic meter only has two however - thus it is the relative level of stress that matters.


3

First, as @DPT said, you need to distinguish between your book's subjective and objective chronology. In real life, we don't experience real life as a steady progression of time. Ten years can pass in a blink of an eye, and a single day can last forever. The same is true in fiction. There are books that spend fifty pages on a single hour's worth of ...


3

There are many reasons that a good writer may choose a particular word. As Amadeus notes, synonyms normally do not all mean EXACTLY the same thing: there are shades of meaning. But, no offense to Amadeus, but I think he oversimplifies when he says that the exact meaning is the only or overriding criterion. Sometimes a writer chooses a certain word because ...


3

I would venture to guess that most writers whose prose has a poetic quality produce that quality naturally, without conscious effort. However nearly anything that can be produced by nature can be reproduced by craft, so I would also venture to guess that there are writers who spend a great deal of time and effort --and consider alternate word choices -- ...


3

It's "whereas." It's a formal and slightly clunky word. Plus you're using the exact same sentence structure twice in a row, but only twice. Once is fine, and three times is an effect, but two looks like a mistake. Kate’s problem had been physical, but mine had been psychological. She had been motivated by an excess of sensations. My problem was a lack of ...


3

The language in your question is very clear and doesn't seem to use the staccato approach found in your example sci-fi piece. Why not write your sci-fi piece with your natural language, that you seem to have used for your question? I believe that would solve your problem, because you seem to be a clear concise writer -- from your question's example. If ...


3

From my limited experience with attempts at writing verse, your starting point is what it is you actually want to say. A poem is not a random jumble of words that rhyme - it is a picture or an idea displayed by means of those words. So that's your first guiding technique - what is it that you're trying to say? Then, you decide whether you're following any ...


3

Paying attention to rhythm (i.e., caring about it) is the first step. After that, I recommend reading some instructional material on the subject. A book that has helped me greatly in many areas of writing (not just rhythm) is On Writing Well by William F. Zinsser. It is probably out of print, but if you can get hold of a copy, I highly recommend it. One ...


3

Voice is highly individual --it's a large part of what makes your writing distinct, so there aren't really any rule-based ways to develop it. In fact, many of the strongest writers' voices break rules that are ironclad for other people. I would recommend finding some writers whose voice you admire, and writing some pieces in imitation of them --not for ...


3

Both of your books are correct, but they are talking about different types of rhythm --or more properly, rhythm at different scales. At the level of individual words, rhythm is created by the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. For instance: Whose woods these are, I think I know His house is in the village, though - Robert Frost This is regular ...


2

Poetic metre, clarity and brevity are the three corners of a triangle and everything which we write falls somewhere within its domain. Through careful word choice, we can minimize the distance between these three corners, but we can rarely achieve high marks in all three at once. This is why poetry often needs to be studied and interpreted. It often ...


2

Just as a side note, I would alter the second/third sentence to this. I was beginning to like her more. I also realized we had some things in common, like our attempts of suicide. "Like" should be part of the previous sentence. With that in mind, the two examples in Lauren Ipsum's answer are great. Here's another: I smiled and gave her a nod. I was ...


2

It might be worthwhile to read different styles of contemporary poetry, looking for examples that are clear but have a sense of rhythm that appeals to you. Leaving aside the KJV Bible, it's worth remembering that Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an very popular and successful author in his day, with a style people loved, but now his prose style is a joke, with an ...


2

I don't hear "pigeon" as two unstressed syllables. I hear it as a trochee. So I would scan this line like this: the SMALL / PI-geon / RAN to the / EDGE of the / FOR-est So a rising foot at the start but four falling feet after that: iamb. trochee, dactyl, dactyl, trochee.


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