May 7, 2021– Today we’ll be talking about rhyming prose as we continue with our theme this month of Writing for Kids. A lot of manuscripts that are submitted to us are for children’s books and more often than not, the submissions sent in are rhyming stories. There are a few problems with writing rhymes, let’s take a look:
- The flow/cadence is off. The cadence and flow refer to the rhythm and tempo of the verse. Oftentimes writers submit their work without paying mind to this essential part of rhyming stories. If you read this verse aloud, Panda the Cat was a very bad boy, he loved to find mischief more than a toy, you’ll see that the flow and tempo are smooth and equal. Here’s an example of poor rhyming and cadence, The bat sat with the cat who lost his hat in a wooden slat. See the difference?
- The story doesn’t make sense. Writer’s rhyme things because they think it’s easy to do. Perhaps they have the flow and cadence done correctly, but the story doesn’t make sense! Rhyming without the story making sense is not a good thing. I’d much rather read an intriguing story that doesn’t rhyme than a poorly written book that does.
- Words are invented to rhyme. Another mistake that authors make is when they make words up to fit the rhyming verses. We’re not talking about Dr. Seuss here, we’re talking about examples like this one: I love chocolate milk, dogs, and toys, I listen to the stories and the noise from boys. I like to play games and sing and run, huffleump and scrumple are my favourite ones. This makes zero sense. We cannot simply make up words in order to finish our story or because we’ve painted ourselves into a corner and have no way to get out.
The point is to focus on the story and the characters. Rhyming prose has to be done to perfection or else it can be a huge mess that publishers will reject. Write well instead of trying to rhyme.
To learn about everything you need to know for writing for children, check out our masterclass here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House