How to Write a Shakespearean Sonnet

By Divya Chaudhuri
from WikiHow

Though as a general rule, the sonnet is defined as having 14 lines and an iambic pentameter meter, there's a significant difference between the two most common forms of the sonnet: the Shakespearean (aka English) and Petrarchan (aka Italian) sonnets. This article will explain how to stay true to the spirit of the Shakespearean form.

Method 1: Writing a Shakespearean Sonnet

The Shakespearean sonnet is a good place to start if you’re a novice sonneteer because it has the most regular and straightforward rhyme scheme and structure.

  1. Use the Shakespearean rhyme scheme.
  2. Write your lines in iambic pentameter.
  3. Vary your meter from time to time.
  4. Follow the Shakespearean sonnet's stanzaic structure.
  5. Develop your stanzas thoughtfully.
  6. Choose your subject matter carefully.
  7. Write your Shakespearean sonnet.

Note: This article appears as part of a college assignment in ITP104 at the University of Southern California.