Ok, the standard form for haikus is
First line: 5 syllables
Second line: 7 syllables
Third line: 5 syllables
Ideally, you write something that is jarring and unexpected for the third line, and all three lines hold together well as a poem.
However, if you just want to crank some haikus out really quickly, like say someone challenges you at your favorite hangout to write a haiku immediately on a random subject they name, then here’s the best way I’ve found to do it.
This may seem simplistic or even childish,
but it works:
Count on your fingers!
Your fingers are perfect for keeping syllable counts for the first and third lines.
And for the middle 7 syllables, just count 2 syllables over your one-hand count.
Build it one line at a time
Try out different 5 syllable phrases for the first line, starting with a closed fist and opening out one finger at a time, assigning syllables. Keep doing it until you are happy with your first line.
Do the same thing with the 2nd line, except you’ll have to go back to a closed fist after five, and open out two more fingers.
Then do the same thing for the third line, and you’re done!
If you don’t want to reveal your “secret”
If you don’t want to reveal your secret syllable counting system, then keep the counting hand under the table, and go ahead and write out each line you come up with as you go along, following the method above.
Ok, so that’s how to speed-write haikus.
Follow this method, and I bet you can win that speed-haiku challenge!