Sonnet is one of the forms of lyric poetry, most widely used in Europe. The term "sonnet" has been derived from the Occitan word 'sonet' and the Italian word sonetto, both of which mean "little song". Traditionally, English poets have used iambic pentameter for writing sonnets, just like Shakespeare. However, in the Romance languages, hendecasyllable and Alexandrine are the meters that are mostly used. In the following lines, we will tell you how to write sonnets, in the iambic-pentameter or Shakespearean style.
Writing A Sonnet
- First of all, you need to decide on the theme of your sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets were either philosophical in nature or based on love. However, today, sonnets can be written on any and every topic.
- After you have selected the theme for your sonnet, divide it into two sections. In the first section, there will be an explanation of your situation or thought. The next section will comprise of a conclusion or climax.
- The first section of a sonnet will be composed as three quatrains i.e. three stanzas of four lines each.
- The three quatrains will follow the rhyme scheme - a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d and e-f-e-f. It means that the first line rhymes with the third line and the second line rhymes with the fourth line (B with B). However, any line in the first stanza will not rhyme with that in on second or third stanza.
- The second section of the sonnet will be composed as a couplet, which will comprise of two rhyming lines (g-g). Again, these lines should not rhyme with any of the lines in the first section.
- Make sure to use iambic pentameter in the first eight lines of the sonnet. In these lines, there will be ten syllables and every second syllable will be stressed. Since the stressing starts with the second word of a line, the latter will always end with a strong rhyme. The ninth line of the sonnet will have a turn or a change of tone.
- Write your sonnet following the above mentioned tips and it will be ready to be recited to an audience!