Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing in Rhyme

Karen Cioffi's bedtime picture book, Day’s End Lullaby, is based entirely on a rhyming poem/song that she wrote when her first born was about a year old.  Her baby had trouble sleeping, so Karen made up lyrics which were soothing and flowing—and rhyming so that it would hold her baby's attention and help lull her to sleep. It’s begins:
“Now it’s time to close your eyes my dear.
Beside you lies your favorie bear.
The sun has set; it’s out of view.
The moon’s now shining bright for you.”

While she admits she's not a rhyming expert, the poem/lullaby does the trick. It really does sooth little ones and helps them settle down for sleep.

Karen's advice on writing rhyming books:
Rhyming, when done right, is a wonderful way to engage children. Children, as soon as they’re able, love to rhyme words. This can begin as early as two-years old: cat-hat, mouse-house, poopie-boobie  (you get the idea.) But, to write a rhyming story—a well written rhyming story—is difficult.  You need a good story, rhyme, rhythm/beat, meter, stresses, and more—all this in addition to the already unique rules and tricks in writing for children. And, some writers just don’t have that innate ability to do rhyme well. But, it can be learned.

According to Delia Marshall Turner, Ph.D., the elements of poetry are:

Voice (the speaker)
Stanza (the formatting of grouped lines)
Sound (rhyme/patterns)
Rhythm (the beat and meter – pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables)
Figures of Speech (types of figurative language)
Form (type of poem, its design)

Along with this there is perfect rhyme, and approximate rhyme:
Perfect rhyme: tie/lie; stay/day
Approximate rhyme: top/cope; comb/tomb

There are also many other bits and pieces related to writing poetry/ rhyme. But, the foundation that holds it all together is the story itself—you need a good story, especially when writing for children.

According to the article, “To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme” by Dori Chaconas, in the Writer Magazine, October 2001: “You may write in perfect rhyme, with perfect rhythm, but if your piece lacks the elements of a good story, your efforts will be all fluff without substance. I like to think of story as the key element, and if the story is solid, and conducive to rhyme, the rhyme will then enhance the story.”

Karen Cioffi is a published author, ghostwriter, and editor. 
You can find out more about Karen and her books at: (author site) (writing and marketing information and services) (Day’s End Lullaby information and reviews) (middle-grade fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls)

Karen’s newsletter, A Writer’s World, offers useful writing and book marketing information and strategies. Subscribe today and get two e-books on writing and/or marketing.

You can find out more about Karen Cioffi’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at
There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Karen and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

 In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Karen Cioffi about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Karen will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 21, 2011 at 2pm EST.