“I have recently started submitting my work and had my first 1-to-1 with an agent. She didn’t sign me but did say that the manuscript I sent her flowed well and commented that I have a talent for rhyme. This was not the case before the WriteRhyme course and I can say hand on heart that it was one of the best investments I’ve made in my writing”
Writer Camilla Porter describes her experience of WriteMentor’s rhyming picture book course led by author Catherine Emmett
“…out of the bushes on thundering paws -” I read.
“There bounded a dog with the hat in his jaws!” My son chimed in.
This may seem remarkable, part of the joy of picture books is reading aloud and reading together, but my son was three at the time. English is his second language. That moment, hearing my son pick up new vocabulary so naturally, cemented the power of picture books for me. And particularly ones that rhyme.
Looking to improve rhyme
Naturally, when I started writing my own stories they came out in rhyme. It was painstaking but gratifying work and I loved the process, hauled up at my desk with a cuppa searching for the perfect couplet.
Unsurprisingly, those first stories were terrible. There were some gems in there, but overall, they stank. The rhyme was forced. The metre was off. I could rattle them off smoothly because I had read them aloud a hundred times, but a new reader? Not a chance.
By this time I had taken some courses and joined a critique group and was learning more about the industry. The consensus seemed to be that agents and publishers didn´t want rhyming texts anyway. They were hard to sell translation rights for and editors had read too many manuscripts were the rhyme was poorly done. So, I tried writing in prose. It was certainly quicker, but a lot of my stories just felt flat. I longed to write in rhyme again.
Finding the perfect course
This time I had learnt enough to know that if I was going to write in rhyme I had better do it really well if I wanted to submit my work. I trawled the internet until I came across the WriteMentor picture book course WriteRhyme with the wonderful Catherine Emmett. It was just what I was looking for. A course designed to help you write rhyming picture books!
Receiving invaluable feedback
Over the six weeks we tackled rhyme and metre with practical examples and no jargon. Catherine´s knowledge of the picture book market also helped with all other aspects of writing picture books, from finding the essence of your story to plotting and page turns. The feedback from Catherine and the rest of the group was invaluable.
Ready to write with the right tools
Since the picture book course I often return to Catherine´s videos and handouts for reference. Now when I write, I am relaxed about whether it comes out in prose or verse. If a story wants to be written in verse (and mine nearly always do) I know I have the tools to do it.
Encouraging words from a literary agent
I have recently started submitting my work and had my first 1-to-1 with an agent. She didn´t sign me but did say that the manuscript I sent her flowed well and commented that I have a talent for rhyme. This was not the case before the WriteRhyme picture book course and I can say hand on heart that the course was one of the best investments I’ve made in my writing. It can be tough in the query trenches, but having the confidence that at least one element of my writing is strong is a huge boost.
Join the course
Join WriteMentor’s 6-week online course exploring everything that you need to know about writing rhyming picture books. For writers of all levels wanting to master the art of metre, rhythm, and rhyme – and engaging a young audience.
Get picture book mentoring
Working one-to-one with Catherine Emmett, receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your picture book text to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level.