As they say, “That is the question.” I’m a natural rhymer. Picture book ideas come to me in rhyming couplets or quatrains. Sometimes I have to stop myself from creating a new rhyming text.
Because so many editors and agents won’t even look at it. Does it help that I already have a rhyming picture book published? Not really. I can’t submit a rhyming manuscript if editors clearly state they DO NOT want to see one.
So, this summer I have concentrated on “perfecting my picture book prose.” How’s that for alliteration? I’m learning to cut words and eliminate description, but sometimes those rhymes keep sneaking into the text. Maybe I can get away with them if they are “magic spells” or “a child’s ditty.”
I’m getting better at this prose picture book writing stuff. My non-rhyming stories used to range in the 1000-1200 word mark. Now, I am happy to say that my latest offerings have consistently been fewer than 750 words, a marked improvement for me.
So, how come all of a sudden I can do this?
- I write the story as it comes to me.
- I send it to my fabulous critique partners, Lynne and Jenn.
- I let it sit for a few weeks while I work on something else.
- I revisit the piece and whittle.
I must say it’s still harder for me to write a perfect prose piece than a perfect rhyming piece, but I’m trying. I can turn anything written in prose into a rhyme. It’s much harder to turn a rhyme into prose. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing my rhymes, oh no!
Just yesterday a publisher requested to see my latest rhyming picture book text. YAY!
But there is always room for learning new techniques and in this business the more versatile you are, the more chance you have at being successful. So try something new today. Happy writing! J