Rhythm & Rhyme Workshop


Anyone who reads a lot of picture books has undoubtedly stumbled upon this before: The rhyme is almost there, but it’s off enough that it gives you pause, your ear straining to make the sounds fit but it never quite does. Or the text feels a little clunky in places and the pace doesn’t flow smoothly when you read the book aloud to your kids at bedtime, your tongue tripping in enough places that the rhythm feels off. As readers, we notice when something is off, but as writers we don’t always know why it isn’t working, or more importantly, how to fix it.


When Rhyme Goes Wrong


Editors and agents often say that they don’t like rhyming picture books. The reason? Most of the rhyming picture book submissions are poorly done, oftentimes written as a poem but with pictures. The good news is that picture books with rhyme can work, but it takes some effort to get it there. There are very few Dr. Suesses or Shel Silversteins in the world. For everyone else, there are methods and tricks for making rhyme work and doing it well.

The Rhythm and Rhyme Workshop will show writers how to do just that—teach you how to write rhyming picture books that agents and editors will clamor to request, but more importantly, books that parents and children will love to read (and re-read, ad nauseum, until both parent and child can recite it from memory, to some parents’ chagrin).


Workshop Description

The three 30-minute video presentations will cover the essential elements of every rhyming text:

  • rhythm
  • meter
  • cadence
  • rhyme
  • rhyme scheme

Each element is broken down in a way that isn’t intimidating and is easy to understand. Even better, you’ll learn how to use these elements to craft rhyming picture books that shine.

If you write picture books but aren’t planning to write in verse, many of the same principles apply to writing a good picture book in general, especially if there is a rhythm or cadence to the text, even if it isn’t a traditional rhyme.


Once you’ve paid for the workshop, email michelle@michellewittebooks.com and she’ll send you the links and passwords for the three video presentations. While the class is geared toward picture books, the principles taught apply to most types of verse, so even if you don’t wrote picture books, you can still learn a lot from the class. 


About the Instructor

Michelle Witte is a literary agent specializing in children’s literature, from board books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. Before that, she worked as an editor with nonfiction publisher Gibbs Smith, where she edited a variety of nonfiction, including children’s activity books, cookbooks, interior design, and green living. Michelle is also a writer and has published several nonfiction humor books, such as Happy Little Accidents: The Wit and Wisdom of Bob Ross and The Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing. She’s spent more than a dozen years working with words, and a decade in the book publishing industry specifically. She travels frequently, but for the most part she lives in Utah.


Send an email to michelle@michellewittebooks.com with any questions you might have.

Disclaimer: Michelle is currently closed to submissions, including picture books. In any case, she would never sign a client from work she’s critiqued or edited. Literary agents work on commission, so Michelle never asks for money up front to evaluate or represent a writer’s work.