Limericks are not my strength. Try as I might, I cannot spin them off the top of my head. It took me all day to get two decent ones. If you’re not familiar with the form, I found a good guide on About.com by Grace Fleming: How to Write a Limerick. Here are a few tricks I use to get through them:
- Do the first two lines (the setup) and the last line (the punchline) first. All these have the same rhyme, and gives you the frame to work with. Then fill in lines three and four (transition) which only have to rhyme with each other.
- Use a rhyming dictionary! I use The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary. Helps for getting out of tight corners when you use a word with not very many rhymes.
- Along the last lines, sometimes you have this idea you want, but can’t find workable rhymes. Like in my second limerick below, I wanted to do “Sang for her supper” but could NOT get a decent follow up. Solution: find a synonym. A thesaurus is a handy tool for poets.
- If you still struggle coming up with something, give yourself a theme. Write about a friend, or a book character, or spin off a fairy tale. Have fun with it!
Without further ado, here are my two Limericks.
There once was a red-hooded girl
Who through the dark woods did twirl
‘Til a sound made her scream
And fall in a stream
Turned out it was only a squirrel
There once was a girl from Cancun
Who couldn’t carry a tune
Her song for a meal
Made a werewolf reel
And now she howls at the moon
Comments on: "A Series of Limericks: tips included" (5)
There once was a gal making salad
who started in singing a ballad
and thus, pretty soon,
all were humming the tune,
not noting the cukes were quite palid.
M, who will now return to spinning lettuce dry …
Cool limericks! Liked the tips- very useful!
Thanks, Lin. 🙂
Very interesting post. Thanks for the tips.
so, 8,8,5,5,8 …not that easy to keep to these syllables, but here’s my attempt
There was a young lady fighter
Whose conflicts could not excite her
She made a new start
And channelled her art
Fuelling her life as a writer.
[…] A Series of Limericks: tips included (poetic-muselings.net) […]