Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Importance of Meter in Rhyming Books

Question from Reader: If writing and self-publishing a book in rhyme, does it matter if the meter and scan are not 100% perfect, if the book has been tested on children and parents, and they love it? Realistically, how many children and parents are going to pick up on imperfections if the book is still very easy to read?

I've just had a story professionally edited for meter and scan, and I can't see why it all matters. I am wondering if its worth the time and money when perhaps it may be better to just put the book out there and let the audience decide.

John's Answer: It does not always need to be perfect. But if there are more than two or three imperfect meters in a 32-page book, kids and parents may very well be disappointed. A key to the success of children's books is how many times children pick up the book to read it again (or have it read to them again).

Everyone will pick up on the imperfections. Always do. Whether it will matter to them is another thing. Again, some imperfections are often acceptable, but not too many.

You can always put the book out there and let the audience decide. They are the ultimate arbiters for something like this.

Now, most meter problems can be solved. It just takes a little more time to edit and refine the text. Why not try that first?
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