Many people believe that counting syllables is the key to good meter. THIS IS A MYTH!

This largely useless practice involves counting up the individual syllables in each line of a story or verse and simply making sure that all the lines have the same (or nearly the same) total number of syllables.

But contrary to popular belief, “counting syllables” will not tell you if your Meter is off. It will not tell you where you need to adjust your Meter. It will not tell you what type of Meter is used in a given story or poem. If you engage in “syllable counting,” you will only know one thing about your story or poem: You will know how many syllables are in each line.  And that is all.  Unless you love counting for the sake of counting, “counting syllables” is a waste of time.  There is one simple, but very important reason for this:


Birds on Wire


LegosThere are two types of syllables in Meter: STRESSED and UNstressed. These are the most basic of the building blocks that make up Meter.  And the key to good Meter is fully understanding the difference between them.  Before you write a story in Meter, you have to determine whether every syllable in your work is STRESSED or UNstressed. Then you have to arrange those syllables in a specific order.  You also need to understand Metrical Feet, Metrical Lines, and Metrical Variance.   But don’t worry, these concepts are much easier than they sound.