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).
The class will cover the essential elements of every rhyming text:
- 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.
In addition to the class, Michelle will provide a detailed analysis of one rhyming picture book manuscript, breaking down these essential elements so the author can see how each part works, and pointing out weaknesses and areas that need improvement.
- Class (1 hour)
- Critique (1 picture book manuscript)
- Additional critique of picture book manuscript
- Does not include class
- Class (1 hour)
- Does not include manuscript critique
Once you’ve paid for the workshop, email your picture book manuscript to firstname.lastname@example.org. At that time Michelle will send you the link and password to access the Rhythm & Rhyme class video.
If you have more than one picture book manuscript you’d like critiqued, you can add on additional critiques for $25 each.
Note: You must take the Rhythm and Rhyme class in order to have a rhyming picture book manuscript critiqued. Everything included in the critique is explained in the class, so you won’t understand the analysis of your manuscript without seeing the class first.
For those who want to learn how to write rhyming picture books but don’t have a manuscript yet, there is the option to take the class only. You can always add a critique later, at $25 per picture book manuscript.
(While the class is geared toward picture books, the principles taught apply to most types of verse. So even if you don’t write picture books, you can still learn a lot from the class. The critiques, however, are solely for picture book manuscripts.)
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 splits her time between Utah and New York.
Send an email to email@example.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.