With the looming launch date of my debut picture book, My Llama Drama, and my work behind the scenes plugging away on the development of what I hope will be new published stories, I've some thought into why I've chosen to rhyme in some stories and not in others.
Firstly, I think it's important to dispel one myth close to my heart about rhyming stories. As a teacher and reader of a gazillion picture books, I've held tightly to my misconception that writing in rhyme was easy!! I'm here to tell you... IT IS NOT - some authors just make it look easy!
I wrote My Llama Drama over a few days with the initial intention of it being a poem for my son that we could enjoy together. When it blossomed into a full blown rhyming story I decided (after several months of sitting on it by the way) that I needed professional help to get the story ship-shape.
Now, I have to be honest. I thought my story and the rhyme within it were pretty good until I got myself a wonderful editor. Naively thinking my story only required a bit of a spit and polish set me up for a wild ride!
Tamara Rittershaus and I worked backwards and forwards over many, many weeks to get My Llama Drama (originally called 'Llamas Can't Talk!') to a perfectly publishable place. She is the most brilliant poetry coach and a perfectionist to-boot, so I was in very capable hands and trusted her every word and suggestion. Turned out... it wasn't so much the story that needed so much work - it was the poetry!
She taught me about meter, beats and where they should be placed dependent on the type of poetry I was going for, stressed and unstressed syllables (look these up, it's fascinating) and how to select words that would work universally, not just in good ol' Oz. I learned that to rhyme is not hard... it's the rhythm of poetry that trips a lot of us up.
I tell you, I will never be able to read a Dr Seuss book the same ever again! Not only do I now wear my author hat in a bid to understand the mechanics of his writing, but I have a new appreciation of how bloody hard he must have worked to get his stories to that place.
"The problem with writing a book in verse is, to be successful, it has to sound like you knocked it off on a rainy Friday afternoon. It has to sound easy." - Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss)
Yes, indeed, Dr Seuss!!
So, why rhyme?
Yes, they're hard to write, but when written well what makes rhyming stories so good for our little readers?
Here are just a few reasons to include rhyming texts in your child's/student's book collection:
So, having said all of that, I can't guarantee I'm going to write forevermore in rhyme. It's tricky but when you get it right it's so worth it! In fact, I've started a new picture book manuscript in rhyme and then decided to write it in prose too to see which I preferred. Right now, rhyme isn't winning this time, but we'll see!
I believe there's a place for diverse and rich texts in all our lives, including rhyme AND prose. Do you have a preference? I'd love to know in the comments below.
Sometimes you just have to take a leap and put yourself out there!
In December last year I found myself in a great Facebook Group for authors of children's books. Well... what a supportive bunch! I'm so glad I found them! If you are into doing ANY kind of creative endeavour, I highly recommend you do the same - find your tribe, and support and learn from each other. You never know where it might take you!
I am so excited because from this group a wonderful collaborative has grown for debut authors of children's books in 2019! The group is called 'On the Scene in 2019' and it features twenty international authors debuting picture books or middle grade books this year. Thanks to the hard work of the group administrators and swift action of the members, we now have a shiny new website just for us - the perfect place to find your child's next great read and support some sparkly new up and coming authors!
Putting yourself out there can be really hard and scary sometimes, I know it. There isn't a day when I don't think, 'Am I really going to do this?', and the real stinkers, 'Am I good enough? What right do I have to be publishing a book?'. Admittedly, I'm still learning to kick those negative thoughts aside but my excitement and happiness over doing something I've wanted to do for so long far outweighs the scary stuff and those bummer thoughts. I'm sure there will be plenty of challenges ahead, but I'm ready to take them on. Especially since I have your support and the support of my fellow authors in the On the Scene in 2019 group. I feel honoured to be part of their group let alone sharing web space with them!
You can find us (and your next favourite children's books :)) here:
Your support means the world to us, so I hope to see you there!
It's giveaway time again!
In the spirit of the new school year here in Australia, I'm giving away one of these lovely Brindie Books Teacher Observations Notebooks to some lucky teacher or friend of a teacher who loves to go a bit old school and keep all their formative assessment observations in one easy to find place.
Featuring crisp white pages, an index in the front, 5 pages per student for assessment and pages in the back of the book to note memorable or funny events/comments throughout the school year.
To be eligible to enter you must:
Who am I?
Hi, I'm Lisa. I'm a writer, educator, and creative type. I live with my husband, son and cat in Canberra, Australia.