Wednesday, April 23, 2014


NAME: a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.

EXAMPLE:  "What is your name?" Brian asked the young lady.
"My name is Elizabeth, but you can call me Beth."

QUOTE:  I call everyone 'Darling' because I can't remember their names.  Zsa Zsa Gabor 

If we don't want everyone to call our characters Darling, we need to come up with a great name.

There are many ways. You can simply pick your favorite name or you can go through phone books, high school yearbooks or baby name books.

Those are easy ways to do it.

If you write scifi, you could use mythological names or combine two names. 

Click here for a unique word mixer site. You provide the words and they mix them up for you.

Be sure and pick appropriate names for the time period. Pick age appropriate names.

Mix your favorite names together. Make your name easy to pronounce. You don't want people stumbling over your names while reading your book. Use same initials. Watch out what the initials of your character's name spell out - I think you know what I mean. 

Avoid overused names. 

Use Biblical or family names. Here is a different idea - go to cemeteries and look at names on tombstones.

Click here for a great site for finding the meaning of names. 

Click here for lists of the top five names for the past 100 years.

Here is an idea. Look at old military records. 
Rosters from wars can be found online and in libraries.

How do you come up with names for your characters?

Posted by

     Janet Smart
                on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rhyming Picture Books

I am participating in RhyPiBoMo.

This month we are learning about and celebrating rhyming picture books.

Good rhymes are harder than you think to write.
You have to think about rhythm, stresses, beats, rhyme schemes, alliteration, repetition, syllables, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia and even feet!

And you thought writing in rhyme was easy.

Here are some rhyming lines from picture books I thought I would share with you:

Thank you for play dates, for swings and for slides.
Thank you for hopscotch and piggyback rides.

How do I love you,  little one? Let me count the ways . . .
One in sunshine; two in snow; three on rainy days.

Another inky evening's here
the air is cool and calm and clear.
We've feasted, fluttered, swooped, and soared,
and yet . . . we're still a little bored.

If I could, I'd sing a song
to make the stars wink all night long.

Jack heard a noise that rocked the floor.
He heard a noise that shook the door.
Jack heard . . . a snore.

Back yard picnics
big black ants.
In our baskets
Up our pants.

Can you guess which picture books they were taken from?

Take a guess - but you'll never guess the last one. I snuck that one in on you - it is from one of my manuscripts :o)

Can you make a rhyme using this picture as a word prompt?

Here is my painful attempt:
(I write from experience)

I am green
my eyes bug out
If you touch me,
you will shout!

Happy writing!

Or should I say - Happy Rhyming!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


RHYME: A repetition of similar sounding words occurring at the end of lines in poems or songs.

EXAMPLE: There are many types of rhyme,  but the most common occurs in the final syllable of a verse or line

QUOTE:  Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. Dr. Seuss

I am participating in RhyPiBoMo this month.
It's all about writing picture books in rhyme.
Writing in rhyme is more than having your last words rhyme - much more.

Many publishers say 'not interested in rhyme submissions.' They say this because they get so many submissions of 'bad rhyme.' But children, and adults, love reading picture books in rhyme.

To write a good rhyming picture book, you must also think of the other ingredients. Your book must first have a good STORY. Just because it rhymes, doesn't mean it is a good story. It has to have a beginning, middle and end. Then add the RHYTHM and RHYME.

Avoid sentence structure where the words are arranged to accommodate the rhyme. That is lazy rhyming.
Avoid using overly simple rhyming words. Add spice and variety. Challenge yourself and use unique word pairings.
Avoid using near rhymes.
Avoid cliches.

Do read lots of rhyming picture books.
Do practice and try to write rhyme every day.
Do learn about meter! This is very important.
Click here to learn about meter. Go to the bottom of the page and read about RHYTHM, the icing on the cake.

I am reading rhyming picture books this month. What are some of your favorites? Do you have any suggestions that I can add to my pile of rhyming books?

Let your mind go. 
A good story and rhyme can burst forth overnight.

Posted byJanet Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.