6 CRITIQUE POINTS: “eLemental dOgerel x6” by Todd Hebb


eLemental dOgerel x6:

m’s Six Elements of Good Writing

by Todd Hebb

Webster's New World Dictionary: dogerel (noun) trivial,
poorly constructed verse, usually of a burlesque or comic sort...
...Please enjoy and forgive me if I have misinterpreted
important guidelines in my pursuit of a sing-song verse.


6.  VOICE~

I must find my voice.  Where could it be?

Is it the sound, or the source—the person in me?

Does it come from a place I often go?

To laugh or cry,  the inside I know.

I think not. I hope it comes forth a hobo, a tramp,

And I will give him words, a history, as he makes camp.

And, so long as the fire burns, we’ll share a good drink

For all the stories wasted, as the voice tried to think.

We’ll dance and we’ll sing for the telling to be

About all which is beautiful we say and can see.



Clarity is the word-for-word language clear.

 It simplifies the obvious, brings our focal point near.

 And when the meaning’s right, in context and content,

Author becomes essayist, journalist—poets exempt.

 To convey ideas with humble words

Is the more difficult calling than grandiloquent urges.

 Conjure the elementary school workbook, distill the long phrase,

And express and reveal what your reader craves.



Authority is neither man nor woman–no way.

Nor is it strength or volume of the words you say.

Consider color in shade and in light.

Is it warm or cold?  Pale or bright?

Does it reflect or refract? Describe its tone,

and whether you see glossy, satin, or bone.

Identify, specify, quantify, classify 

Meticulous points of character or place

and the reader will trust and believe in your case.

This will help your words shine from the page.

Authority makes the author a sage.



Design asks for a beginning,

a middle

an end.

It is the architecture of all storytelling.

Write first to invite, like planting a seed, sowing ideas that could turn up a lead.

The center plays to arresting scenes,

And the last part, to free us

With an enlightening theme.



Development is every writer’s chance for invention.

You can play the odds, plot, or dare to mention.

Open and gut your people and places.

Feed your readers the flesh of  all things.

Conflict your story and all that it traces.

Lead on and leave the carnage and wreckage.

For once read, it no longer belongs to you only,

And, here we come to the heart of the message:



Insight is the word for inner awareness, understanding, and answers.

It’s why you became a writer—and not a ballet dancer.



Todd Hebb and Lucy. Todd is working on a series of narrative essays.

9 thoughts on “6 CRITIQUE POINTS: “eLemental dOgerel x6” by Todd Hebb

  1. I particularly love “Voice” – a hobo, emergent, not just waiting to be found but needing to make camp. This is lovely. I would like to share it with my students.


    • I knew Todd’s piece was going to be a hit…but, Todd, who knew your piece would be used to guide/entertain student writers at the University of Hawaii! Congrats!

      BTW: I don’t remember ever mentioning “a hobo” in the many, many years I’ve shared/described these 6 “secrets” of good writing. Thanks for presenting these elements in such an imaginative, amusing way Todd. …My favorite line is “For all the stories wasted, as the voice tried to think.” because it identifies where our stories stall, or fail to complete, as we stop writing to tune-up our singing. My advice: complete a first draft before editing word choices to perfection. m-


  2. I do not know this delightful person Todd, but through his words I feel a connection, a kinship.


  3. It’s great stuff; fun and drives home the message. Todd, you should copyright this before others claim it for their own!


  4. Delightful, Todd! (And I knew there were additional reasons I didn’t become a ballet dancer…!)


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