meter · Picturebooks · rhyme · rhythm · stress · Writing

50% off first hour’s edit

To warm up your Winter Writing – Jackie’s Rhyming Manuscript Editing Service is offering 50% off your first hour’s edit for the entire month of JUNE.

Normally $45, for JUNE only you can get your first hour for only $22.50 – you’ll also receive a FREE copy of her Rhyme Like the Experts book.

So if you have a rhyming children’s story or poem that just won’t behave itself why not take advantage of this special offer?

meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · Writing


CompHi everyone!

What a lovely week I’ve had reading your entries to my second Rhyming Poetry or Verse Stories for Children Competition.
Never an easy task but always an enjoyable one, today I am thrilled to be able to announce the winners.

1st place goes to Nicholas Bullough for his entry Bee!

2nd and 3rd places go to Maura Finn for her entries When we go to the Playground and The Babies are on Parade.

Huge congratulations to both Nicholas and Maura and a massive thank you to everyone who entered.

All up there were 83 entries, one more than last time.entries

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before I am unable to give feedback on your poems and stories however if you would like a manuscript edit I would again  like to offer non-winning entrants a discounted rate.

Please contact me if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

I would also like to send all non-winning entrants a copy of this week’s issue of PASS IT ON as a token of my appreciation.

Take care everyone and happy rhyming 🙂

meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm





Rhyming Poetry or Verse Stories for Children

Entry Fee $5

Entries to be received by 1st JUNE 2013


Conditions of Entry

  • Stories or poems must be unpublished
  • Stories or poems must not have been previously submitted to my Rhyming Ms Editing Service

Submission guidelines

Cover Sheet to include entrants’…

  • Title of Work
  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Method of payment: cheque, money order, direct debit or PayPal

Story or poem to be…

  • Typed in 12 point Arial
  • Double spaced
  • Title of Work on each page (header)
  • Page numbers (footer)
  • No identification (only on cover sheet)

Please send story or poem by

  • Regular mail to

5 Lewis Court

Anglesea Vic 3230

  • Email as word doc attachment to with “COMPETITION” in the subject line

Entry fee payment

  • Cheque or money order to Jackie Hosking (see above for address)
  • Direct debit to Jackie Hosking BSB 063144 Acc No 10174208 (ref – your name)
  • PayPal – email Jackie for invoice

Receipt of payment

  • Will be emailed once story and payment have been received.


  • 1stprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $105
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • A set of five (5) picture books
  • 2ndprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $70
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • One (2) picture books
  • 3rdprize
    • A Rhyming MS edit to the value of $35
    • A copy of “Rhyme Like the Experts”
    • 12 months subscription to PASS IT ON
    • One (1) picture book



meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress · Writing

Writing in Rhyme Tip 4 – The Anapaest


Last time I talked about a type of meter called the IAMB.

Today I am going to talk about the ANAPAEST.

To use ‘dancing’ as a metaphor for meter, the iamb might be likened to a march da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, etc where the anapaest would be a waltz da da DUM, da da DUM, da da DUM, da da DUM.

Seuss was particularly fond of this type of meter and many of his verse stories are written this way.

The first story in Dr. Seuss’ Book of Bedtime Stories is called Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book. Here is the first verse.




The news just came in

From the County of Keck

That a very small bug

By the name of Van Vleck

Is yawning so wide

You can see down his neck.


When we pop this into a syllable grid here’s what we can see..


The news just came in from the Coun ty of Keck
That a ve ry small bug by the name of Van Vleck
Is yaw ning so wide you can see down his neck


And here’s the first verse from Horton Hears a Who!


On the fifteenth of May in the Jungle of Nool

In the heat of the day in the cool of the Pool

He was splashing…enjoying the jungle’s great joys…

When Horton the elephant heard a small noise


On the fif teenth of May in the Jun gle of Nool
In the heat of the day in the cool of the Pool
He was splash ing en joy ing the jun gle’s great joys
When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise


As you can see, the pattern is quite distinct. Each line contains 4 stressed syllables separated by two unstressed ones.

In the last line we’re introduced to Horton the elephant. Here are some other characters that would fit the meter…


Shirley the crocodile

Martin the Terrier

Freddy the butterfly


Here are some that don’t…


Frank the mongoose

Jacqueline the chook

Marmaduke the Great White Shark


And here’s why…


Shirley the crocodile

Martin the terrier

Freddy the butterfly


When Shir ley the croc o dile heard a small noise
When Mar tin the te rri er heard a small noise
When Fre ddy the butt er fly heard a small noise


Frank the mongoose

Jacqueline the chook

Marmaduke the Great White Shark


When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise  
When Frank the mon goose heard a small noise      
When Jac que line the chook heard a small noise    
When Mar ma duke the Great White Shark heard a small noise


If I really wanted to use the name Jacqueline this is how I could do it and stay true to the meter…


When Jacqueline chicken perceived a small noise.


When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise
When Jac que line chick en per ceived a small noise


Okay I’ll leave it there.


Happy rhyming 🙂


meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress

Writing in Rhyme Tip 3 – Meter


Today’s tip looks at METER.

Meter is the the pattern created by the ordering of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of verse.

Here is what some Australian publishers of Children’s books had to say when asked the question…

What are the most common difficulties that writers in rhyme encounter?

They haven’t got a sense of timing – rhythm or flow.

Metre metre, metre! So few submissions have pleasing, easy metre. Read your poem aloud. Do you have to work hard to fit your words into your metre? Do you adjust the stress on ANY of thewords (i.e. do you say them differently to the way you say them in natural speech)? Rewrite those lines!! I cannot emphasise enough how important metre is to poetry.

They think the rhyme excuses a whole lot of other flaws, including poor rhymes. Rhyming is a subtle and complex art that deserves years of study and then you have to make it work for children and then in a picture book format. You need a great story first and one that works for children, which has a proper beginning, middle and end.

Bad rhythm and forced rhyme. There should be no extra words to get the rhythm to work ‘such as the lion did say” instead of ‘said’ or reversals of words to get the rhyme, ie  ‘lion blue’ to rhyme with ‘you’ instead of blue lion. In other words the rhyme has to be very natural. The other thing to bear in mind is that many people don’t have a natural sense of rhythm anyway, and read rhyme and the emphasis on the words differently. The rhyme has to be very consistent to avoid such differences. The other thing I find is that the necessity to rhyme often means that the story goes in different directions when inexperienced writers attempt to write rhyme, so there can be dead spots in the story or extraneous material (if that makes sense). It is very difficult to get good succinct rhyme which keeps to the storyline. Rhyme that works better is when writers are not trying to write rhyming couplets, but stick to a simple repetitive couplet such as ‘I went walking. What did you see. I saw a red cow looking at me.’  Or ‘Let’s go visiting what do you say. Two black kittens are ready to play.’

Rhythms and rhymes that are “not quite there”.

To help us understand what exactly this thing called METER is I am going to engage the help of two very famous children’s authors, Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss.

In front of me I have two books, one by Roald Dahl called Dirty Beasts.

The other by Dr. Seuss called Dr. Seuss’s Book of Bedtime Stories. Both are collections of stories written in rhyme and both, quite frankly, are brilliant!

I’m going to begin with Roald Dahl’s book, Dirty Beasts to help explain a type of meter known as the IAMB.

Dirty Beasts

The very first story, in the book is called The Pig and here are the first four lines..


In England once there lived a big

And wonderfully clever pig.

To everybody it was plain

That Piggy had a massive brain


When we insert this verse into a “syllables grid” and we bold the stressed syllables, this is the pattern that emerges…

In Eng land once there lived a big
And won der fu lly cle ver pig
To eve ry bo dy it was plain
That Pi ggy had a ma ssive brain

Iambic meter then, is the the rhythm created by alternating one unstressed syllable and one stressed syllable –

|da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | with each da DUM chunk being called a FOOT.

Each of Dahl’s lines contain 4 iambic feet so the verse above is written in iambic tetrameter.

Now every one of Dahl’s stories and there are nine in this collection, is written in iambic tetrameter so if this is a meter that you enjoy I would encourage you to read every one of them.

I will leave you with the first four lines of the final story in the collection called The Tummy Beast


Once afternoon I said to mummy,

“Who is this person in my tummy?

“He must be small and very thin

Or how could he have gotten in?”


Next time we will explore the meter known as the ANAPAEST, a favourite of Dr. Seuss.

Until then, happy rhyming 🙂

meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress · Verbs

Writing in Rhyme Tip 2 – Stress



So today’s tip focuses on syllable stress and the easiest way to do that, I think, is to look at words known as heteronyms.

A heteronym is…, according to the definition found on The Heteronym Page

…a word that has the same spelling as another word but with a different pronunciation and meaning.

The words that I’d like to concentrate on are the ones whose definition changes according the position of the stress placed upon it.

Here are some examples.


If you stress the first syllable DEZ-urt – you are describing a dry, baron place.

If you stress the second syllable di-ZURT – this is a verb meaning to abandon.

Following is a couplet that looks like it should rhyme but it does not. Why doesn’t it?


I feel that I must now assert

That Simpson’s a sandy desert

If we bold the syllables, that in natural speech, are stressed, we’ll find that a pattern emerges.


i FEEL that i MUST now aSSERT

That SIMPson’s a SANdy DESert

Can you see the problem?

The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables has been disrupted.

The previously established pattern (stressed, unstressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed unstressed, stressed) requires the reader to mispronounce the word “desert” so that the stress falls on the second syllable.

While this scenario is unlikely I think it highlights a common problem when writing in rhyme.

Another example that I use in my book “Rhyme Like the Experts” may help to clarify the issue.


Mary, Mary, quite contrary
Filled her mouth with one strawberry

So in order for this to rhyme, the writer needs the reader to mispronounce the word “strawberry” so that it sounds like this… strawBEHrry to rhyme with conTRAHry.

What I urge all writers of rhyme to do is to get their work read aloud by someone else. A fresh eye will immediately pick up where the writer has manipulated a word to fit the meter. The new reader will read the words as they would in natural speech and will trip up if the pattern is disrupted due to the stress position of certain words.

Clear as mud?

If you have any questions, please post them below in the comments section.

Happy rhyming :-)


meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress


RHYME LIKE THE EXPERTS is a PDF booklet to help would be writers of rhyme do just that.

Written simply it explains concepts such as…


While it doesn’t use an abundance of techinical or complicated language it does introduce you to some poetic terms.

For example, did you know that the English language natually contains words that can be described as Iambs?

An Iamb is a cluster of two syllables or language sounds that comprise one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

Iambic words would include…




On my poetry tips blog I have likend writing iambic verse to knitting (scroll down to Tip 3), knit one, pearl one…

And to give an example of a verse written in iambic pentameter [where pentameter = 5 iambic feet (syllable chunks)]

Here’s one I prepared earlier…

I’ve searched and searched my archives deepest files

It’s taken quite substantial blocks of time

And though I’ve written verse in range of styles

Iambic pent-a-meter’s not my rhyme

Below is what I call a syllable grid – which illustrates which syllables are stressed and which are not – thus revealing the pattern or meter.

I’ve searched and searched my ar chives deep est files
It’s ta ken quite sub stan tial blocks of time
And though I’ve wri tten verse in range of styles
I am bic pent a me ter’s not my rhyme
meter · Picturebooks · rhyme · rhythm

Winners of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards announced

How excited am I?

No I’m not a winner in the awards but the genre I write in is.

Hooray for Goodnight, Mice! 

Winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – children’s fiction category


Goodnight, Mice! is a gorgeous picture book written by Frances Watts,  illustrated by Judy Watson and published by HarperCollins.

A gorgeous picture book written in ……rhyme!


Kiss Dad once.

Cuddle Mum twice.

‘Goodnight, Mum and Dad.’

‘Goodnight, mice.’


Could it be, dare I hope that good old rhyme is back in fashion?

Looking around my office I can see books by Glenda Millard, Sally Odgers, Nick Bland, Doug McLeod and guess what – they all rhyme. Joy of joys!

The judges comments, also reiterate the importance of the rhyming story when they say…

Watts’s words sing with rhyme and repetition, making them excellent linguistic tools for small children…


Here’s some information about Goodnight, Mice! – It’s taken from the HarperCollins website.

Book Description

Kiss Dad once.

Cuddle Mum twice.

′Goodnight, Mum and Dad.′

′Goodnight, mice.′

It′s time to say goodnight — but the four cheeky mice skittering, scampering and scurrying to bed don′t seem very sleepy!

This warm, affectionate story is the perfect bedtime book for the whole family to share.

A CBCA Notable Book

Winner in the 2012 Prime Minister′s Literary Awards

Praise for GOODNIGHT, MICE!:

′the perfect bedtime book … told at a cleverly thought-out pace that should ensure a yawn before the final page … Illustrator Judy Watson′s detailed expressions on the four mouslings are fun, funny and rewarding upon further visits′ COURIER-MAIL

′an ideal bedtime read for parents keen on winding things down for the sleepy train. Squeak!′ KIDS-BOOKREVIEW.COM

′a story filled with warmth and family love … This is sure to become a book young children and parents will be happy to read again and again′ AUSSIEREVIEWS.COM

′utterly flawless use of rich and poetic language … a bedtime story to read aloud with gusto, to delight in and to savour. Very highly recommended′ SYDNEY′S CHILD

′this is a charming, funny and reassuring story for littlies to follow the going-to-bed ritual … Recommended′ MAGPIES

′Watts knows how to break up a story′s rhythm by using a refrain, making a story which will be read again and again. Watson′s mice are individuals and the many untold stories in the pictures will be pored over by avid three and four-year-old listeners.′ WEST AUSTRALIAN

Ages: 2+


So once again – a hearty congratulations from me and a great big cheer for the rambunctious, rollicking, rhyming, read.



meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · Writing

The School Magazine

Orbit – July 2012. Cover image by Andrew Joyner


Today I would like to blog about The School Magazine which is part of the NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre.

Australian children have been delighted by the The School Magazine since 1916 – that’s 96 years. That’s incredible.

Today I was thrilled, once again, to have two more of my poems accepted by this marvelous publication.

Orbit 2005 – Cover image by Tom Jellett

The first poem that The School Magazine accepted of mine was called “If I Were a Giant” This poem was illustrated by Kim Gamble of Tashi fame.

I cannot even begin to describe the thrill of seeing my poem illustrated by someone that I had never even met.

I’d caught the bug.

I just loved the idea of someone reading my words and those words causing images to dance around a complete stranger’s brain to be spilled onto their canvas thus binding us together like a hug.

Honestly it’s the most fun anyone can have!

My latest School Magazine poem, not the two recently accepted but the one most recently published is called The Crows and it appears on page 17  in this month’s July editon of Orbit.

The Crows has been illustrated by the very talented Veronica Rooke and I couldn’t be happier, thank you Veronica, in fact thank you to all The School Magazine staff for your time and effort to ensure that each publication is of the highest quality, always.

Now if anyone is interested in hearing me perform some of my poetry, I will be appearing at The Sutherland Shire Writers’ Festival on Monday 12th November 2012 at Grays Point Primary School in the Sutherland Shire.


Do come along. I’ll be desperate to see some friendly faces 🙂