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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: JulieM on November 26, 2015, 05:39 PM

Title: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: JulieM on November 26, 2015, 05:39 PM
I have a rhyming Picture Book manuscript that is just about submission ready. But I find myself in a quandary as to how to format it. We often get to see finished Picture books in rhyme, but not their corresponding submission letters, so I feel a bit stuck.
In particular, my problem is that this story has direct speech by different characters. One character says a block of speech that goes for two (short) stanzas, and I am reluctant to put a break in the middle of it.
My gut feeling is to format the text in usual paragraphs to best represent the story. But it is verse, so must it be in stanzas?
I would love to hear what others have done in this situation. (I couldn't find a clear answer here or on the usual "go to" websites (e.g. Harold's, and Dori's).
Suggestions anyone?
Thanks!
Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: Betsy on November 26, 2015, 08:27 PM
If it were my ms., I'd keep it in stanzas as much as possible. That's what editors expect to see. Above all you don't want to come across as an amateur.

I'm not sure there are any rules to cover your particular situation. In fact, I'm not sure I understand the question. But, if I interpret you right, here's how I'd do it:

Note to editor: The character speaking is designated within parens. and should not be considered part of the text.

(John speaks:)             

I knew the rule that, when at school
And gazing at a map,
It wasn’t wise to shut your eyes
And take a little nap.

(Mary speaks:)

I dreamt I saw the seven seas,
I wanted to explore.
I went by train, by boat, by plane
And gazed on every shore.

(John speaks:)

I took a bus to Marrakesh,
A taxi to Peru.

(Mary speaks:)

I rode a mule to Istanbul
A yak to Timbuktu.


Does this solve the problem? Editors know that not every manuscript can be formatted according to the rules. So just make it as clear as you can, and if there are any remaining problems, mention them in the cover letter.

Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: Schriscoe on November 27, 2015, 04:34 AM
Nice work Betsy! Yes this is how I would do it, too.
Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: DianaM on November 27, 2015, 04:41 AM
I agree with Betsy.

You should break at end rhymes. You can also indent and use italics if you're alternating between two kinds of meter (or prose and verse).
Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: Verla Kay on November 27, 2015, 07:09 AM
Perfect answers to this question. Nicely done, Betsy.
Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: HaroldU on November 27, 2015, 12:05 PM
Very good answer from Betsy! I just want to highlight one point--be sure to break your lines at the rhyming words. I have received manuscripts in verse with the text all run together in paragraph form, and that is confusing and difficult to read.
Title: Re: How to format a rhyming Picture Book manuscript for submission?
Post by: JulieM on November 27, 2015, 02:04 PM
You have explained it beautifully, Betsy.Thanks so much, everyone!