It's time once again for WRITERLY WISDOM where every Wednesday we will sneak a peek into the world of writing and publication. Who doesn't need more information about the virtues of writing in either prose or rhyme? This week author Catherine Johnson helps remind us what we need to look out for when deciding to write in one style or the other. Take it away Catherine...
Prose vs. Rhyme
by Catherine Johnson
Lots of people love to rhyme, but how do you do it well?
Do you dream it in your sleep? Do you make a magic spell?
Well…Did you read a post by Amy Dixon to make some notes first she’d suggest?
That way your plot has no big holes and your story is the best.
Learn your meter, but don’t be a slave, make your words behave
but let their length misbehave.
And just as you see above, internal rhyme is fun.
When you start experimenting your sparkling lines will stun.
“Now it’s not so easy to bring dialogue into a rhyming story, not a big scale anyway.
Experiment with how much dialogue you want before you go rhyming it,” she said.
“What stories have you read that you cannot imagine being written in prose and vice versa? Can you imagine Green Eggs and Ham in prose? What about Where the Wild Things Are being in rhyme? Some stories sound okay both ways. It’s very hard to turn a rhyming story into prose. Has anyone done that?”
Some people find it easier to write a poem in rhyme and expand it and add picture book elements to turn it into a picture book. I’ve tried it recently after hearing that M.M.Socks writes his picture books that way. It really is great, especially if you prefer writing poems to picture books.
Reasons for writing in prose:
1 Soft, gentle story with cute characters are usually in prose.
2 If the plot is too long to sound good in rhyme, I.e. The Monstore by Tara Lazar.
3 If it is too complicated to write in rhyme or you would lose the essence of the story in rhyme.
4 A book with very little text plus a repetitive line on each page as in Because I’m Your Dad by Ahmet Zappa and Dan Santat would be very difficult to rhyme and a bit pointless. (Love this book btw!)
Reasons for writing in rhyme:
1 Key words in the story rhyme easily with other words relevant to the story.
2 The story is lively and would be fun in rhyme.
3 It started life as a poem.
So does this help any lol? I would be happy to help anyone with meter issues etc. Happy rhyming and prosing folks!
Catherine Johnson is a British Ex-Pat living in Canada with her unruly brood ;) She likes to take the dog for a walk, write poems at every opportunity and has just started learning to illustrate. There just might be a book of zoo poems coming out soon. You can find Catherine on her blog at: http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com