How to Write a Sonnet
The sonnet is one of the most popular poetry forms around the world. It is centuries old and yet still has poets by the hearts just the same today as it did when the genre started.
Steps to Write a Sonnet
- Select a subject for your sonnet. Themes usually focus on love or philosophy, but modern sonnets cover almost any topic.
- Divide the theme of the sonnet into two sections. The first section you will present the situation or thought; the second section will present a conclusion or climax.
- The first section will contain three quatrains--three stanzas of four lines each.
- Write the three quatrains using a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f rhyme scheme (1). Most sonnets use the iambic pentameter (2).
- The last section should consist of a couple--two rhyming lines of poetry. The couplet should use a g-g rhyme scheme, where the last words of the two lines rhyme with each other.
Tips to write a sonnet
1) Use the a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f rhyme scheme for an English (Shakespearean) sonnet. An Italian sonnet uses a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a for the first section, called the octave, and c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-d-c-d in the second section, called the sestet.
Modern sonnets sometimes do not rhyme at all, instead use only 14 lines with 10 syllables each.
2) An iamb is a metrical 'foot' composed of two syllables, with the accent on the second syllable. Examples: 'to-day' or 'en-rage.'
Pentameter means there are five metrical feet per line. Therefor, Iambic pentameter means each line consists of five iambic feet (10 total syllables).