This month, we’re sharing a brief excerpt each week from our new book, Rhyming Picture Books the Write Way. At the moment, it’s Kindle only, though it will be available in paperback, too, before too long.
Here’s this week’s excerpt:
Just crafting a great story in the compact picture book format is tough enough; adding the many requirements of writing effective rhyme can make the task seem almost impossible.
So what happens when faced with this impossible task? Sometimes, the writer forgoes the story or nonfiction element and hopes that the cleverness of the rhyme will be enough on its own. Maybe, he or she thinks, the reader won’t notice that the book doesn’t actually have any substance—because they will be so captivated by the rollicking rhyme.
Here’s a secret: that very rarely happens.
Over and over again, I’ve seen editors bemoan manuscripts in rhyming verse where “nothing actually happens.” That’s one of the reasons why, I believe, editors often urge writers to also try writing their rhyming verse stories without the rhyme. Sometimes, by doing so, the writer discovers that the story has a chance to find its true voice without the constraints that rhyme has imposed. And sometimes, the holes in the story—or the complete absence of story—are revealed.
To read about examples of rhyming picture books that tell great stories, as well as tips for evaluating your own rhyming picture book manuscript, check out our Kindle ebook ($2.99).