October 7, 2009

Prose vs. Rhyme

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything new. So I’ve taken a short break from creating online games and websites, and have been trying to get back to basics. I’ve framed out the idea for a new picture book, but now I’m left with one nagging question. Should it be in prose or rhyme?

I’m leaning towards rhyme for no particular reason other than it seems to be the best way for me to tell the story. It also means that I’ve picked the most difficult route to travel. To write a rhyming picture book, I still need all the elements of a story, I need a clear beginning middle and end; a strong plot, a likeable character, maybe a villain or two, some sort of conflict, and a good, believable resolution of the conflict, all while paying attention to rhyme and meter.

I’ve heard it said that a story shouldn’t be told in rhyme unless it absolutely has to, but I’m not exactly sure what that means. What’s the method for determining whether a story should rhyme or not? All of Dr. Seuss’s work could have been written in prose, but it wouldn’t have been the same. I think it’s just a plain judgment call.

I know why people say this though. Writing a story in rhyme is hard to do well. I’m sure that many otherwise promising stories have been sunk by faulty rhyme or meter, or that they were missing a necessary element of a true story.

I actually started writing this story in prose, and then I wrote another rhyming version. I like the rhyming version better. It has a certain character that the other version doesn’t. So for this reason alone I am taking the more difficult route. I don’t know where this will take me. Hopefully, I’ll wind up with a completed, polished piece. But I could also wind up with an unfinished, abandoned piece, which has unfixable problems.

A challenge…sure. But I’m not intimidated by a challenge. A rhymer it is.

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