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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: amber-butler on January 21, 2017, 01:03 PM

Title: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: amber-butler on January 21, 2017, 01:03 PM
I have a short poem I wrote a long time ago about a boy who gets a little too greedy making a sandwich and it's too big to safely eat. I don't even know if it's any good, and it's only 16 lines (4 stanzas of 4 lines each). Here is a stanza for an example of the rhythm:

The stack kept on growing and growing
Pumpernickel and green beans and cake
White cheddar cheese and five kinds of beans
Topped off with a big, juicy steak

So, apart from the fact that it surely needs a hilarious amount of revision, is it long enough? It would need basically 1 line per spread, correct? Is that too little for something that rhymes? Should I look to add more stanzas?

Thanks! :)
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: JulieM on January 21, 2017, 01:30 PM
I suggest making a dummy book and placing your lines on pages as appropriate to the story. This will tell you if your poem is about the right length. Check that you have sufficient story/action on each page - some pages will probably have just one line; some may well have several depending on what they are about. A picture book also generally needs several scenes/scene changes to be interesting.
Modified to add: PBs usually have around 28 pages of text - think about the single first and last page, and the double page spreads too.
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: Schriscoe on January 21, 2017, 01:35 PM
What Julie said.

It's not so much as to how many stanzas (or even words for that matter) your story has. It's the story that counts. There has to be enough happening for an illustrator to carry your words through a 32 page PB and there has to be a satisfying ending.

I've seen PBs with rhyming stanzas from less than 25 words to over 500 and all in between. Focus mainly on the writing, then the rest will fall into place.  :goodluck
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: amber-butler on January 21, 2017, 01:36 PM
That's very helpful, thanks!
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on January 23, 2017, 07:18 AM
Keep in mind that what won't work as a picture book can still sell to a magazine.
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: poet on January 24, 2017, 04:09 AM
Cute idea, but right now, what you are describing sounds more like a poem to me. To make it a picture book, my suggestion would be to think, not in terms of stanzas, but in terms of action.  Is there enough variation and building of action to warrant 14 page turns, or will each spread be similar with just an added layer to the sandwich.  Is there a way you can take this cute concept and go even more crazy with it - in a way that would intensify the action and variation of the visual? 
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: amber-butler on January 24, 2017, 05:46 AM
These are all very good points. I don't think it makes a good picture book. There's no real plot and I'm not sure the structure is conducive to one, it's just kind of a humorous, quick rhyme. I'm not sure a magazine would be interested in it but that's definitely more the genre it fits in. I'll look into that, thank you!
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: poet on January 24, 2017, 03:50 PM
I think it would make an ADORABLE poem for a magazine! Go for it!  (At least that's my humble opinion.)
Title: Re: Stanzas in a rhyming PB--how many?
Post by: Verla Kay on January 24, 2017, 04:07 PM
Sounds to me like this might be more of a magazine length story, also. Good luck!