Now, if you’re writing for a Dr. Seuss or other children’s book, then rhyming could be useful. It also works well for artists, musicians, and other creative types.
It doesn’t work well for blue collar industries, white collar industries, and other corporate, business and professional industries. If used in this context it needs to be very subtle.
So we have two important points so far:
1. Rhyming can be used to great effect in SOME situations
2. In the incorrect setting, rhyming will destroy your copy
With those two points in mind, you can go forward and start to use rhymes (or words that aren’t exact rhymes, but sound close) in your copy. In doing so, your writing can start to open up and flow.
In all of my writing, I find there’s a certain rhythm or beat. When I find that natural beat, the writing flows like a stream in a dream.
And because it flows so effortlessly, it’s easy to carry your reader to the end. Imagine pulling someone across the ground with only your arms and legs. Hard, right? But put ’em in water, set them down the river, and they’re practically weightless. That’s what I like to achieve with my writing too.
Usually rhyming shouldn’t be obvious.
When I used “stream in a dream” above, it wasn’t back to back to back rhyming. It’s just a little drop. You won’t use rhymes throughout the entirety of your copy. Just here and there, or maybe just here, hold my beer!
Notice how that last one didn’t flow as well. It doesn’t feel natural, even if some might find it funny. So maybe it wasn’t necessary and I should remove it. Maybe one rhyme was enough for the entire piece!
Flow isn’t just about rhyming.
To achieve states of mental word flow you have to go beyond rhymes. Rhymes can help you achieve flow in some situations. To maintain flow you need a variety of techniques. Most importantly for this training is the ability to find words that sound similar to other words, and also the insight to read your copy aloud.
When I write copy I always run it through the Flesch Reading Ease scale. This usually tells me how simple the copy is to read. But I also read it aloud to myself because it’s much faster, and easier to discover hidden stuck points.
For instance, if I wrote, “Mountain Sun Polisher makes floors shine brighter than the Sagittarius constellation on a starry night” it might come out fairly clean in Flesch.
But when I read it aloud, I get stuck like mud on the words “the Sagittarius constellation” because it’s a tricky line. As a result, it breaks flow and I should reconsider how I write that sentence.
In regards to words that sound like other words, I’m talking about a natural sense of flow that happens as you read. Two lines above that achieve this:
1. put ’em in water, set them down the river.
This one creates flow through the use of two similar sounding NON-rhyming words. Those words are water and river. Each word ends in the letters, “er” which creates a sense of connection and flow in the words.
Words that end with similar letters flow better.
2. Stuck like mud.
This one is a bit more contrasting. Stuck and mud aren’t as near to one another. K sounds very different from D, yet there’s still a sense of flow because the letters aren’t all that different sounding. K or Kuh sounds similar to D or Duh sound, so it works to create flow.
These are minor details, but they make a big difference in your copy. Pay attention for moments when you can use similar sounding words to create this sense of flow and carry your reader through your words more easily.
Use this week to familiarize yourself with rhyming and flow in your copy. Write a product description for a creative brand or product that uses a drop of rhyming and a touch of similar sounding words to create a sense of flow in one to two paragraphs. Feel free to send it over for my review if you like.