Thank you to April Boland, who has pointed me in the direction of a villanelle competition. As a result, I've spent most of the last day or so writing them. This includes writing at some hour of the morning when the rest of the world is asleep, simply because insomnia got the better of me. I've got a couple of the things so far, plus those I've already written. Last night's turned out to be a villanelle on the difficulty of writing villanelles. Amusing enough, but probably not what I'm going to submit.
The big thing is the rhymes. I worked out earlier that you need seven seperate A rhymes and six B rhymes for a villanelle, which is potentially quite a lot if you want to avoid repetition and/or silliness (not that the latter ever bothers me) One thing I've found useful is sorting out the refrains first, then taking the A rhymes on the end and running them through the alphabet, trying to give myself a good selection. I could just resort to a rhyming dictionary, but then it never feels like MY choice of words. Incidentally, finding six other meaningful rhymes for the word 'villanelle' isn't as easy as it seems.