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For today’s Wordsmith Wednesday I’m pleased to introduce you to a fellow poet, Mike Patrick, who’s told me about a couple of helpful computer programs. I’ve asked him to review one that can be a godsend to those of you who write poetry. If you have rhyme-meter phobia and have avoided forms that call for this, this could be for you.
VersePerfect by Mike Patrick
A while back, the Digital Goddess, Kim Komando, offered VersePerfect as the free download of the day. (http://www.komando.com/downloads/category.aspx?id=9969). In case you are unfamiliar with Kim Komando, she does a daily radio program and website entry on computers, cameras and most anything digital. I mention this because I trust her. What she mentions on her show, or lists in her website, is safe–safe as in “no viruses.”
Kim described VersePerfect as “a great program for poets, songwriters or anyone needing a little inspiration.” Because it sounded interesting, and I was thinking of starting a poetry blog, I followed her instruction in the above site and downloaded it. I have NOT been disappointed.
Once downloaded and run, VersePerfect appears onscreen as three adjoining windows:
- a main writing/editing screen covering most of the right side of the monitor
- two smaller windows, one on top of the other, along the left side.
Between the large and smaller windows are two columns. One lists the number of lines, the other lists the number of syllables in each line. If you write anything from haiku to sonnets, syllable counts are important. (I offer a word of caution here. I’ve noticed the syllable counts being off by one number occasionally. I haven’t been able to figure out why, but it hasn’t been much of a problem; I’m anal and count everything anyway.)
After every word is entered into the main window, the top left window automatically fills in with a list of rhyming words from the built-in McGill Dictionary of Rhyme. This list updates to the last word you type. If you are looking for a rhyme for an earlier typed word, mouse click on it anywhere it appears on the main editing window, and the matching list of rhyming words immediately appears.
While all that is going on in the upper left standard-rhyme window, the lower left window begins to display a list of “context” words immediately after the completion of each word. This is a list of matching meanings for any noun, verb, adverb or adjective you may type. A little dropdown window allows you to select the context in which interests you. For instance, after the word “window” is typed, the dropdown context lists only “opening (n.)” with over 130 related words. “Window” happens to be of trochee meter. If you are writing a poem requiring an iamb meter, you will discover several in that list that are true to the poem’s meaning, but still having the correct meter.
While those three program-windows in VersePerfect will do most of the heavy lifting, across the top is a row of buttons that allow for the toggling on and off many of the features. There is also a row of buttons instantly linking one to a hyperbolic thesaurus, online lookup, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dictionary.com, and Google.
The program also completes spell-check, prints your work, saves it within the program, or cuts and pastes to Word or another word processing program.
The only complaint I can churn up is the font size. It is not adjustable, or at least I haven’t figured out how to it if it is, and I wish it was a little larger.
VersePerfect has done everything I have asked of it, and I still have not used many of its functions and capabilities. As time goes on, and my needs change, I may use them. As for now, I can highly recommend VersePerfect. It almost feels like cheating when I’m writing a poem.
Best of luck in your writing,
Thank you, Mike. Be sure to check out Mike’s poetry on his blog at http://thepoetsquill.wordpress.com/