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“I don’t know, but it’s been said
Air force wings are made of lead
I don’t know, but I’ve been told
Navy wings are made of gold”
These words are part of a cadence, a Navy call-and-response work song or chant. It has a beat. The main purpose of the rhythm is to set a pace for marching. The humor makes it easy to remember and create a bond among those using it. This one happens to rhyme. Not all cadences do.
Advertising jingles also can rhyme or not. Do you recognize this one?
“When it rains
Created in 1914 that’s the slogan for Morton Salt, which is still in use. See the Morton Salt Girl’s first appearance here.
Often, writers don’t know what words will stick with readers (or movie goers). If you have a household like mine though, you’ll often hear movie quotes that fit the occasion. My daughter recently mentioned the movie A League of Their Own and my immediate thought was “There’s no crying in baseball.” I know many people who can complete lines from The Princess Bride, such as, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You . . .”
Need I state the authors whom these lines are from?
“To be, or not to be. That is the question—”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were.”
I don’t know how to judge my own lines as to what will stick with others, what might be quotable. But I do know I need to think about cadences and the way the words sound together. How each character speaks. A lot of that happens in revision.
In the end, all I can really do is create the best combinations of words I can.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.