meter · Picturebooks · rhyme · rhythm · stress · Writing

50% off first hour’s edit

To warm up your Winter Writing – Jackie’s Rhyming Manuscript Editing Service is offering 50% off your first hour’s edit for the entire month of JUNE.

Normally $45, for JUNE only you can get your first hour for only $22.50 – you’ll also receive a FREE copy of her Rhyme Like the Experts book.

So if you have a rhyming children’s story or poem that just won’t behave itself why not take advantage of this special offer?


The Croc and the Platypus – Blog Tour


Blog tour graphic

click on the image for all blogs hosting the tour


This is the last stop for The Croc and the Platypus blog tour and I thought I’d finish up with a little post about, guess what?


Talk to any parent, any book shop owner, any child and they will tell you that they love stories that rhyme. To confirm this fact, Goodnight Mice! by Frances Watts and Judy Watson was awarded the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Fiction.

Goodnight, Mice! has been called ‘the perfect bedtime book’, a story told in rhyming verse about the antics of four cheeky mice as they prepare for bed.

The Croc and the Platypus


And joy of joys, The Croc and the Platypus, my very first rhyming picture book is available now thanks to Walker Books!


So what exactly is a story told in rhyming verse?

This might seem an odd question but stories told in rhyming verse have fundamental differences to stories told in prose.

1. They are, by their nature, condensed.
2. They are structured into verses.
3. They are written in consistent meter.
4. They follow a rhyming scheme and
5. They are often lyrical and poetic.

While this may seem obvious many new writers stumble over at least one of the points listed above.

So what are some common mistakes made by new writers of stories in rhyming verse? These mistakes also apply to writing in prose.

1. Using wasteful words.


For example…

The snow was falling from the sky

How can we express snow falling without wasting words?


Snowflakes kissed Eliza’s nose

So the first line contains 7 words and imparts very little information while the edited version, containing only 4 words, introduces a character, describes the weather and places the character outside in it.

2. Tautology.


For example…

She nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders
Can you nod your foot? Can you shrug your elbows?
Tautology is the needless repetition of meaning. Saying the same thing twice. She nodded and shrugged, gives the same information in half the words.


3. Using dull words.


For example…

John rode his bike down the hill

How can we liven this up to create an exciting, colourful, sense driven moment?




John’s knuckles whitened as speed wobbled his wheels.


Although this line has one more word that the first line it is definitely more interesting to read. It gives us a sense of exhilaration, and impending danger. It doesn’t read like a report.


As I said in the beginning, stories written in rhyming verse are, by their nature, condensed and so every word needs to say something.

If you want to describe someone running fast through the bush, don’t say, they were running fast through the bush, say they splintered through the eucalypts.RLTE

If you are interested in learning more about the art of writing in rhyme and meter and the common mistakes that people make, leave a comment by the end of the day and I will send you a copy of my book Rhyme like the Experts, where I explain meter in a simple fashion using syllable grids and examples to highlight where, how and why meter works.



meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress


RHYME LIKE THE EXPERTS is a PDF booklet to help would be writers of rhyme do just that.

Written simply it explains concepts such as…


While it doesn’t use an abundance of techinical or complicated language it does introduce you to some poetic terms.

For example, did you know that the English language natually contains words that can be described as Iambs?

An Iamb is a cluster of two syllables or language sounds that comprise one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

Iambic words would include…




On my poetry tips blog I have likend writing iambic verse to knitting (scroll down to Tip 3), knit one, pearl one…

And to give an example of a verse written in iambic pentameter [where pentameter = 5 iambic feet (syllable chunks)]

Here’s one I prepared earlier…

I’ve searched and searched my archives deepest files

It’s taken quite substantial blocks of time

And though I’ve written verse in range of styles

Iambic pent-a-meter’s not my rhyme

Below is what I call a syllable grid – which illustrates which syllables are stressed and which are not – thus revealing the pattern or meter.

I’ve searched and searched my ar chives deep est files
It’s ta ken quite sub stan tial blocks of time
And though I’ve wri tten verse in range of styles
I am bic pent a me ter’s not my rhyme