Can You Write a Rhyming Picture Book?

Have you heard that editors and agents don't want rhyming picture books?

It's true that some of them don't. But as you can see from the following clip of Melissa Manlove at last November's Black Friday Bootcamp, some of them do.

So, if you feel called to write rhyming picture books, it falls on you to learn how to write them well. To that end, I've created a short checklist.

  1. Does your meter match your story?
    • Can you identify your meter, and is it consistent throughout the story?
    • Does it convey the right voice for your story?
    • If you want to learn more about meter, Diana Murray's intensive teaches meter and scansion.
  2. Have you outlined your story?
    • Does your story have a problem for your main character to solve?
    • Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?
    • If you want to focus on getting your rhyming story right, Tim McCanna's intensive helps with that.
  3. Have you interviewed your character or narrator?
    • Find out what your character really wants so that you aren't tempted to let the rhyme determine their fate.
    • If you're writing about a subject, research will give you a more interesting narrative.
  4. Are your rhymes and verbs interesting?
    • Research will also give you more interesting words to use. 
    • Avoid the inclination to use easy end rhymes. Play with language!

Thanks for reading!

Blog Contributors

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems. 

Arree Chung is an author/illustrator and the founder of Storyteller Academy. Arree’s Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award. 

Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.

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2 thoughts on “Can You Write a Rhyming Picture Book?”

  1. When I began writing, every subject I wrote about had a heavy iambic flavor. I did not know any other way to write. What novice begins knowing how to write? And I was writing in rhyme. I laugh so hard now, understanding how very little I knew about writing. How even less I knew about rhyme, I’m so excited about having the opportunity to watch and re-watch the intensives . . . whenever I need to reinforce or re-learn. Thanks for this post Myrna.

  2. You’re welcome, Pamela! My first attempts were rhymers too. I knew plenty about writing poetry, but not much about writing picture books, and the two art forms are different.

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