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Syllables in PBs

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Hi all,

I'm working on a PB, which I don't have much experience in. I started out telling the story from the MC's POV, the reader following the MC through a city. Draft one came to 494 words. I pruned the story and got it down to 322 words. Then I decided it was still too wordy and telling too much. So, I revamped the entire MS to be phrases rather than sentences. Now I have 28 lines (phrases), 113 words. I think it works better because it will rely on the illustrations more.

My stanzas/lines are not in rhyme form. I don't think they should be. I do have a pattern of what is described in each line (1: location, 2: sounds, 3: sights, 4: identifying phrase) My question is: should they follow a syllable pattern (same number of syllables in each line 1, each line 2, etc)? Is that necessary?

Here's an example of one set of lines (if it helps understand my question):

Up to the street.
Wings flap, feathers fly.
Tiny footprints curly-cue.
Pigeon tracks! City tracks!

I hope my question makes sense. Thanks for any and all feedback!

-Moriah
#1 - September 28, 2017, 04:59 AM

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I like this kind of spare text, Moriah. And if the entire ms is like this, you'd want to pay attention to how it sounds read aloud. For instance, curly cue bumps for me when I say this aloud. It breaks the rhythm. Do you have a critique group to run this by? If not, you can try for some feedback on the SCBWI crit board.

Verla is the queen of cryptic rhyme so you might want to take a look at her books.
#2 - September 28, 2017, 05:21 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Thanks, Vijaya!  :thanx

Your feedback will help!
No, I don't currently have a critique group. I was planning to find a critique partner/group, or the critique section of the Blueboard after I'm further along with this. But, I didn't feel comfortable continuing to revise without knowing if I needed to focus on syllables.

-Moriah
#3 - September 28, 2017, 05:28 AM

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Oh, and thanks for the tip about reading Verla's books! I'm researching right now!

-Moriah
#4 - September 28, 2017, 05:30 AM

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Happy reading and writing and connecting!
#5 - September 28, 2017, 05:40 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Moriah,
Also check with your local SCBWI. I met my in person critique group through a Critique Fest Event . They matched us up based on our location and it worked really well. So well we decided to meet regularly and 2 years later we still meet monthly and email regularly.

I like the sparse, staccato text but agree that "curly cue" felt off. Unless you are meaning the tracks leave a curly cue trail. Art may fix it, but words alone, I stumbled.

Good Luck!
#6 - September 28, 2017, 06:27 AM

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Hi Moriah!

I really like your structure. Only your first sentence stops me a bit. But just a bit. I would just make sure that after several stanzas, your story doesn't sound monotonous and that you still maintain some story arc.

Jean
#7 - September 28, 2017, 01:06 PM
Jean Reidy
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Thanks June and Jean!

I just recently moved. So, I plugged in to the local region/chapter and went to a shop talk this week. I'm hoping to find a critique partner there, or possibly through the Blueboard.

I appreciate your feedback tremendously. I was rereading my ms this afternoon and realized some of the story was been lost or weakened when I rewrote it in stanzas. So, I know I need to work on making sure the story arc stays strong, as well as the ending.

I'm going to keep plugging along at this...  :write5

-Moriah
#8 - September 28, 2017, 01:21 PM

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