Sunday, February 8, 2009
To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme?
I've been so engrossed in my new picture book manuscript, 3 Karate Pigs, that I haven't had time to blog, or comment so much on other blogs. (Sorry to all my blogging friends!)
I got a full draft done myself and then turned to Becky Sat. morning for help with the meter and rhyme. "I have to say this..." she typed into AOL messenger. Uh-oh. I knew what was coming. "Perhaps the story shouldn't be in rhyme?"
This is a common debate for us. I always want to write in rhyme, or partial rhyme. She often prefers drafting a story in prose.
It's not that I have anything against prose. I love lots of non-rhyming picture book such as Knuffle Bunny, That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown and Scaredy Squirrel.
But my inclination is to write in rhyme. Rhyme can make a thin plot sparkle and shine. Could Bear Snores On have worked in prose? My guess is "no." The story is too slight. It's the fabulous language and perfect rhythm that makes this book such a winner!
An itty-bitty mouse
creep-crawls through the cave
from the fluff cold snow.
Mouse squeaks, "Too damp,
too dank, too dark."
So he lights wee twigs
with a small, hot spark
The coals pip-pop and the wind doesn't stop.
But the bear snores on.
On the con side, people say it is harder to sell a rhyming manuscript.
But I see many more arguments for the pro-rhyme position:
1) Rhyme could differentiate us. There must be hundreds of fractured Pigs manuscripts in the slush. Why should an editor pick ours?
2) Rhyme is way more fun to write. It is like a complex puzzle and I find it very challenging to make the pieces fit just right.
3) Rhyming stories are great for developing literacy skills. Rhyme helps kids predict what is coming to they can chime in, and it helps emerging reader decipher words.
To rhyme or not to rhyme, that is the question?