Friday, September 30, 2022

Writing in Verse

Writing is hard, no matter what age group you write for, and writing in verse is even harder.

Here’s why: the rhyme and meter has to be perfect; the story still needs a narrative arc with increasing tension, the main character needs to solve the problem and the story needs a satisfying ending; and many times, the writer focuses on the rhyme and meter that the story elements are left behind.

You may say what about books that are lists, there is no narrative arc, no main problem for the character to solve, it is simply a list. A list it is, but those books are written by award-winning authors whose books are bestsellers.

For example, Duck & Goose How Are You Feeling? by author illustrator Tad Hills, as the title suggests, several emotions are illustrated – selfish, proud, frustrated, and others. His books are sweet and charming with name and character recognition.

I read some authors that write in verse, write out the story in prose first. Once they are satisfied that the story has all of the story elements, and has been revised and revised, then they work on the rhyme and meter.

In addition to studying stories in verse and reading books on craft, I suggest reading reviews on Amazon (School Library Journal), Kirkus Reviews and Betsy Bird’s blog. 

I feel book reviews from reputable sources are a teaching moment. They tell us what they liked about the story and /or what was lacking and what was excellent. Whether you write in verse or prose, it’s all about the story.

Board Books, reviews by Betsy Bird

Kirkus Reviews

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