Janeen Brian – To rhyme or not to rhyme? – writing workshop – Adult program

One of the most popular books for young children at the moment is “I’m a Dirty Dinosaur” and its sequel, “I’m a hungry dinosaur,” so who better than author of both, Janeen Brian, to give a workshop on how to write in rhyme.

Janeen Brian photo by Jenny Stubbs

She took us through the many reasons publishers hate unsolicited rhyming picture books, such as difficulty in translating, and if it is not done well it makes you cringe. Then she pointed out how rhyming picture books can be good, and gave us tips on how to make them sing.

The best ones look easy to write, but they actually take a lot of work, and when you get it right, it will say in your head forever. Heaps of fun to read to children, they also help them learn the sounds of speech.

Janeen's rhyming books

Some of Janeen’s rhyming picture books

She took us through the different types of meter and got us to practice working it out on some popular books such as Hairy Maclary, Green Eggs and Ham, and one of her own, “Shirl and the Wollomby show.” I can’t give away all her tips here, but a key one is: give it to someone else to read it to you aloud. She had a few stanzas with filler lines or phrases not true to voice, and it was fun coming up with better lines and calling them out with a room full of authors, and even have them say “Oh, that’s good!”


Janeen has written over 90 books which include picture books, poetry, short fiction, novels and non-fiction. http://janeenbrian.com/


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