There’s something deeply personal about the packages you use to write.
They’re a bit like your home, or that comfortable chair, or the restaurant which you go to because it reminds you of that unforgettable kiss you had with the crush that never worked out. They’re things you grow to understand as you use them more and more until you become so familiar with their ways, they become as good as writing on your favourite pad with your most comfortable pen.
Writing is as personal as it gets. It’s the way we choose to express ourselves to the world. It’s not surprising that we invest ourselves and get attached to the tools we acquire, even if they’re only computer programs.
So I want to tell you about the love I have for one that I use, one that’s functional, faultless and free.
VersePerfect is offered primarily as a rhyming dictionary.
For that purpose it’s the best I’ve come across by a mile. But it’s much more than that, it’s a fully integrated productivity suite for writers of song and verse.
The main area is a text editor where you write your poem. If you’re writing free verse, that’s most of the clever functionality you’re going to need. It’s when it comes to writing in form that VersePerfect comes into its own.
As you type your words, the program automatically searches out rhymes for them and displays the results in small panels to the right of the screen.
Not only does it do this with normal words but also with phrases and proper nouns (which can come in very handy when writing comic verse) and also a list of context words, which give thesaurus like results but in relation to commonalities of theme (thinking about that now, it would be dead handy for verse libre). And all this in a free package.
As an aside, someone asked me the other day, “Yeah, but isn’t using a rhyming dictionary cheating?”
It’s not cheating, no more than using a dictionary, thesaurus or – in the case of poets – the must-have dictionary of etymology.
In writing comic verse, it’s extremely handy to have rhymes to aim for because you can hunt out words which lead you to greater humour. When it comes to more serious verse the best use of a rhyming dictionary takes a 180 degree turn and allows you to eliminate rhymes you know you don’t want to use.
So far good, but where VersePerfect really shines is when writing form poetry.
Built into the program are the recipes for all major forms: sonnets, sestinas, terza rima, villanelles and so many others are just a click away. The brilliant thing is, it shows you the required rhyme structures and syllable counts just to the left of each line, and even displays how many syllables you currently have – outstanding.
You can see all this in action on the villanelle which I am currently editing.
There’s a lot more on board, too many features to go into in all honesty, but highlights are: a spellchecker; hyperbolic thesaurus (a truly novel way of looking at and finding related words); internal links to Wikipedia, Wiktionary, translation services and a gamut of online dictionaries. It also has some example form poems which should help you get going if you want to try your hand at one.
All of this has made Verse Perfect my go-to poetry writing software for more than ten years. It’s a little known treasure that deserves much more love. If you write verse in any form, it really is a must-have.
It becomes your personal writing room, replete with a shelf full of books that are invaluable to both the developing and craftsman poet.
And did I mention, it’s free? It was written by a team of people lead by inspirational author, Bryant McGill. It runs natively on Windows, and also on Mac with the help of WineBottler.
To pick up a copy, Download Verse Perfect (via softonic).
- Full productivity suite for writing poetry and lyrics
- Integrated form poetry charts
- Text editor with spellcheck
- Native, comprehensive rhyming dictionary
- Internal links to countless online reference books
- Hyperbolic thesaurus
- It’s free