Slant Rhymes

30 Jun
slant rhyme

© Thomas Shahan, Flickr Creative Commons (“White Collar” c. 1940, Linocuts by Giacomo G. Patri)

What are slant rhymes? Oh, you know them. They’re the ear worm of every pop tune on the radio.

Case in point, Taylor Swift:

‘Cause baby now we got bad blood.
You know it used to be mad love.

So take a look at what you’ve done.
‘Cause baby now we got bad blood.

Now we got problems.
And I don’t think we can solve them.

You made a really deep cut.
And baby now we got bad blood.

Notice anything about these rhymes… Perhaps that they don’t actually rhyme?

They’re slant rhymes, half rhymes, B-rhymes, or (if you’re going to get really nasty about it) lazy rhymes.

Pop songs aren’t the only culprits either. You see slant rhymes in plenty of kids’ picture books. That’s why most publishers have foregone picture books that rhyme altogether.

And that’s a shame really. Because when rhymes are done well, they’re instrumental in laying the foundation for reading readiness, by building vocabulary and developing sound discrimination.
Continue reading

Make Your Own Day

16 Jun

Szaba Seattle Space Needle

Any big plans for Father’s Day?

I’m going to be honest… My Mother’s Day wasn’t very good this year.

The four year old seemed rather on a mission to make my life miserable. I didn’t take it personally. Toddlers have those days.

It’s tough figuring out the world and your place in it.

Sometimes even we adults have issues with that. Now imagine doing so without reference or control of your emotions.

Trying not to take it personally, I gave her space and let Dad take the reins.

The next morning, something unexpected happened. Continue reading

What Are Your Dreams Telling You?

9 Jun
DreamShips

Kristy Mitchell’s jawdropping Wonderland photographs come to her in dreams.

Someone once told me that writers have especially intuitive dreams. I’ve had some soul-shaking ones, and last week’s was a doozy. But more on that later.

So I consulted the Internet. Turns out there are whole books on the subject of writers and dreams.

Did you know that without dreams we wouldn’t have Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Catch-22, Misery, or even TwilightAll of these stories came to authors by way of dreams.

Think this all sounds like a bunch of hippie-dippie nonsense? Scientific American says otherwise.  Continue reading

Look With Your Real Eyes

2 Jun

scrabble tilesReady to play a game? Keep your eyes firmly planted on the screen. Then (without looking around) read the following question, close your eyes, and answer it:  Continue reading

Meet My New Friend

26 May

Patti Aaron OrcasA love letter to my beta readers

As I hit the send button, and my final manuscript zipped through the ether to my proofreader, I felt I should formally thank the most unexpected new friend on this book-writing journey…

Critique.

Do you wince at the word? At the beginning of this story, I would’ve. Hell, even six months ago, I would’ve. Humans tend to want the quickest, least challenging route from A to B, even if it’s not always the best. (Pro tip: Nine times out of ten, it won’t be.)

That’s why Critique sounds to many of us like nails on a chalkboard. It’s hard to hear. It slows you down and sometimes even send you in the opposite direction. It often requires change. At best, you need to rethink a problem. At worst, you practically need to rewire a part of your brain.

It’s hard hard work.

As a matter of fact, it’s so hard that many avoid it altogether, myself included. Just the idea of getting over that hump mountain to the other side makes people pursue every other route, from denial and excuses to apathy and even giving up.

But the truth is, there’s a paradise of possibilities beyond, and Critique is the only friend you can truly trust to get you there.  Continue reading

Jedi Mind Trick

12 May
© Wim de Jong, Flickr Creative Commons

© Wim de Jong, Flickr Creative Commons

At 8:00pm, the toddler turned to me and said, “You know, mom, there aren’t any other kids here.”

And she was right. It was prime dinner time on a Friday night, in a Top Chef’s restaurant filled to bustling with people out on the town.

Next to me, my mother-in-law Kristin rocked my sleepy five month old to sleep. My four year munched on the remains of her honey-eggplant fritas, date confit cake, and Dad’s thali plate.

We had reservations for a reasonable 5:30pm, but somehow managed a fairly leisurely multi-hour dining experience with a toddler and infant. I figured I was either stupid, lucky, or brave. I settled on a mix of the three.

Granted, it could’ve went downhill when Continue reading

Children’s Book Week

5 May

Book ResearchIt’s Children’s Book Week! What are some of your favorites, recent or classic?

Here are some of my top new discoveries. You can also check out my full list Continue reading

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