Children’s poet Raven Howell is with us today!


Thank you for joining Raven Howell’s WOW! Women of Writing tour of Santa’s Slip Up about when Santa shows up on Halloween on accident.


In addition Ravel has written us a special essay on how to write rhyming poetry. As a poet who never writes in rhyme, this Choices author needs this lesson in rhyme very badly. Here’s Raven:


Tricks of the Trade to Writing Rhyme

By Raven Howell

So how about that iambic tetrameter? Ha! Nothing like scaring off a prospective poet or young author who is trying to learn the ins and outs of rhyming. Writing rhyme should be fun and you don’t want to start off intimidated. There are many ways to accomplish good rhyme.

I recited rhyme before I learned to write it, and remember being surrounded by word books and rhyming stories during my childhood years. When I learned to write, my favorite thing to do was to make up my own poems, stories, rhymes, and plays.

I’ve been writing professionally full time for the children’s community for over 30 years. I’ve authored over 20 children’s books. Most of them are in rhyme, either in poetry collections, or rhyming stories, like my new book, Santa’s Slip Up. If you’re an aspiring author, many publishers are interested in publishing rhyme, but it has to be good.

For newbies writing rhyming poetry or just wanting to try a hand at it, experiment with a simple rhyme scheme like ABAB or ABCB. The ABAB is a common rhyme in which the first- and third-lines rhyme at the end, and the second- and fourth-lines rhyme at the end. It’s used for poems with four-line stanzas.

Try writing a couplet. Couplets are two-lined stanzas that rhyme. After that, see if you can make up a triplet – a set of three lines in a stanza that rhyme.

Pay close attention to poetic meter where a “foot” is a set of stressed and unstressed syllables. Your writing must be consistent in the number of feet per line.

Explore stanza lengths and line breaks. Keep reading your writing out loud. Don’t be surprised if you find rhymes in places you may not have anticipated.

If you feel like finding a rhyme is just out of reach, use a rhyming dictionary. I use online which provides exact rhymes, near rhymes, phrase rhymes and more.

Remember to play with vowel and consonant sounds because rhyming is similar to performing a song. You’re both the drummer and the singer. Beat out a pattern and sing along until your words and line endings develop the correct pattern.

If you’re writing a story, be aware that not all plots are befitting to be written in rhyme. Never write your plot around your rhymes (called “forced rhyme”). Your rhymes have to work in your story- and for it. It may take time, and it certainly takes lots of practice, but before you know it, you’ll find your groove!


Book Summary

It’s the night of Halloween. Spooks, spiders, and skeletons abound, the full moon glows – so who is cheering, “Ho, ho, ho!”? Apparently, Santa Claus has come to town, though it’s the wrong time of year! But what could be a bad situation, is wittingly handled with humor, and there’s a new winner at this year’s Halloween parade

For fans of Room on the Broom and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.

Publisher: Pen It Publishing

ISBN-10: 1639844635

ISBN-12: 978-1639844630

Print Length: 38 pages

Purchase a copy of Santa’s Slip Up on Amazon,, or Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author

Raven Howell writes stories and poetry for children. Having published several award-winning picture books, she enjoys sharing her love of literature by visiting classrooms and libraries. Raven is Creative & Publishing Advisor for Red Clover Reader, Poetry Director for Monster Magnificent, and writes The Book Bug column for Story Monsters Ink magazine. Her poems are found in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, Spider, Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty, and Hello Magazine. She’s a Collaborating Author for Reading is Fundamental SoCal and writes storybooks for Reading Gate.

You can find her online at:





  1. Thanks so very much for featuring me, Madeline! It’s super fun to share my experience in rhyming and poetry. I hope my new book, Santa’s Slip Up, causes a little spooky mischief and silliness this upcoming autumn season. Sending warm regards, Raven.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      You are most welcome, Raven. I found your piece about rhyming poetry very interesting. And I’m sure your new book will bring silliness and mischief into the forefront. I wish it huge success.

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