For the Love of 49 Words: A Revision Story Part 3

Well this is the final post in my series “For the Love of 49 Words” in which I spend hundreds telling you how I’m finding those perfect few. In the last episode you left me plunking my rhymers into my spreadsheet to form the spine of my story. Here’s what happened next:

I ordered my rhyming pairs so that their concepts would escalate in absurdity – a winning progression for a kid’s book. Of course, I couldn’t settle on only one ordering so I kept 5 columns open on that spreadsheet for 5 possible versions. Thankfully, I had one favorite word pair that promised the biggest payoff at the end of the book. That couplet won its rightful place in the last position and hasn’t moved since.

So now with my B’s is my ABCB scheme in place, I needed to drop in all my A’s and C’s. Easy you say? Think again.

Even though I’d previously highlighted my favorites from my brainstormed word list, I now had new goals for the remaining words:

  • Cover all five senses – sight, smell, sound, taste, touch,
  • Root out words that might be too similar in illustration,
  • Consider patterning or a progression of words for illustration,
  • Examine beats per line and rhythm readability
  • Use techniques in addition to rhyme, such as alliteration, to improve readability.

So with all those things in mind I started plunking, pulling, pasting, copying and cutting words like crazy into those five columns. And when I thought I’d come upon a perfect combination, I highlighted the whole column and let it rest for a while.

Finally I had three columns highlighted and two I threw out. I read each out loud a minimum of fifty times until the words became inevitable. I had 49 words I loved! — albeit in three distinct versions.


So now after all that passion, those 3 columns are icing just a bit for a fresh read in a few days. At that time one — hopefully at least one — will stand out as the best. Here’s hoping!

See For the Love of 49 Words: A Revision Story Part 1 and Part 2.

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