• courses,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

    Lyrical Lovely Renee La Tulippe

    I have learned so much about rhyming from Renee La Tulippe! She has a wonderful Youtube channel called the Lyrical Language Lab that gives all kinds of information, tips and tricks for writing in rhyme! For those who just want a touch of rhyme in their prose, Renee is great resource for that too (and so much more)! I personally am not great with writing poetry, but Renee does such a fantastic job that I can’t help but absorb the information she gives. I asked Renee for an interview so I could find out more about rhyme! 

    To visit Renee’s website go here: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/

    ———-

    Dani: Where should writers start if they want to learn to write rhyming picture books

    Renee: There’s a lot of craft involved in writing a rhyming picture book, so here are my top three tips for learning to write them well:

    1. If you are brand new to the world of rhyming picture books, start by reading a WHOLE LOT of them! I know kidlit writers and children’s poets who read for a full year before even picking up a pen. They immersed themselves in the genre, studied the structure, typed out texts and picked them apart, and really delved into the author’s craft. Reading widely is the best “course” you could possibly take! And if you’re NOT brand new … keep reading a WHOLE LOT of books in your genre and out of it.

    NoWaterRiver-LaTulippe
    No Water River Website

    2. Read, write, and listen to poetry, remembering that poetry and rhyming picture books are two different things. There are hundreds of amazing poets for young people out there, and adding a healthy dose of good poetry to your reading diet will do wonders for your imagination and your craft. I have an entire blog and video library dedicated to children’s poets at NoWaterRiver.com as well as a Big List of Children’s Poets That’s a great place to start!

    3. Once you have a feel for how rhyming picture books work, I always suggest taking a “how to write a picture book” class — and the one that I most recommend is Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic. I think comprehensive feedback on your work is essential, and I have made it an integral part of my own course. It’s especially important when you’re just starting out, and Susanna’s class is the only one that I’ve personally taken that offers helpful, in-depth feedback every step of the way. I also suggest that people take this kind of class before taking my course because the former is a how-to on the big-picture concepts of writing picture books (story arc, plot, character development, etc.), whereas my course focuses on the language itself. Another great resource is Ann Whitford Paul’s classic how-to, “Writing Picture Books.”

     

     

    Dani: What’s the biggest mistake that rhyming picture book writers make?

    Renee: Writing rhyming picture books is notoriously difficult to do well and can bring even experienced writers to their knees. I’d say there are three major areas that often present problems in rhyming texts:

    1. The rhyme dictates the story. The story and characters are suffocated by the constraints of verse and have no breathing room to develop organically. The result is a weak story that wouldn’t hold up if written in prose.
    1. Inexpert meter. The rhythm is uneven, inconsistent, and choppy so that the reader stumbles, or it is so sing-songy that the reader gets bored. Worse, stresses are forced onto the wrong syllables just to “get the meter to work.”
    2. Tired and forced rhymes. The rhymes are uninspired and cliché and/or exist just to make a rhyme and add nothing to the story and/or don’t make sense.

    So what is a writer to do? We can make sure our rhyming manuscripts are exceptional. That means studying the genre, reading successful rhyming texts, taking classes to learn the craft inside out, seeking expert feedback on our work, revising over and over, and even asking ourselves honestly if the story would indeed be better served by being written in prose.

     

    Dani: What’s your favorite way to relax?

    Renee: Making things! It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as I’m creating something. I dabble in lots of things—sculpting with Sculpey clay, designing and sewing costumes, building or refinishing furniture, stenciling my walls, baking, or even creating graphics in Photoshop or editing videos—all of these activities produce something and require some level of creativity. 

    Renee-projects
    Renee's Projects

    I particularly love working with my hands because I enter some inner world where nothing else exists. When I’m thoroughly involved in a project, I can go hours and hours without eating or speaking to anyone. I don’t even listen to music—I’m just there inside my head and at total peace.

     

    Dani: Can you tell me a bit about the course you teach?

    Renee: Of course! It’s the Lyrical Language Lab, a course I developed and have been teaching since 2014.

    Renee's Lyrical Language Lab

    As I briefly mentioned above, this is a language-level course that focuses on the craft of writing at the sentence level, including word choice, imagery, sound devices, rhyme, and meter. The course is geared to children’s writers and focuses on how to use poetic techniques in types of writing, both prose and verse, to make the writing more musical and engaging.

    Although I only teach the fully-guided course once or twice a year, there are two self-study options available as well.

    Renee's Peek Critique

    Dani: Do you have any news you’d like to share? 

    Renee: I do! I started a FREE resource for kidlit writers and I’d love to invite your readers to check out my Lyrical Language Lab YouTube channel Every Monday I offer short writing lessons on various concepts that are covered in my course.

    I have several video playlists for the different things I cover:

    • Peek & Critique – I offer my feedback on short writing samples sent in by viewers. You can submit your own writing sample right here.

       

    • BookLook – My analysis of various lyrical language concepts and poetic techniques in picture books

       

    • Meter Basics – The down-and-dirty techie stuff behind writing verse that flows

       

    • Lyrical Prose 4-part series

       

    • Revision – Real-time revision on submitted work and behind-the-scenes looks at my own revision process (in the works)

       

    I hope your readers will take advantage of this free service!

     

    About Renée M. LaTulippe

    Renée has poems published in many anthologies including ThankU: Poems of Gratitude (ed. Miranda Paul), School People (ed. Lee Bennett Hopkins), the National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry and The Poetry of US (ed. J. Patrick Lewis), One Minute Till Bedtime (ed. Kenn Nesbitt), Poems Are Teachers (ed. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater), The Poetry Friday Anthology Middle School, Science, and Celebrations editions (ed. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong), and the forthcoming Night Wishes (ed. Lee Bennett Hopkins). Her debut poetry collection was acquired by Charlesbridge.

    Anthologies that contain Renee's work

    Renée developed and teaches the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry and blogs on children’s poetry at NoWaterRiver.com. She earned her BFA in acting/directing from Marymount Manhattan College and her MA in English Education from NYU; worked and played in the theater for almost two decades; and taught English, theater arts, and public speaking in NYC. She now lives by the sea in Italy.

    Renée is represented by Elizabeth Harding of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

    WEBSITE: reneelatulippe.com

    Lyrical Language Lab: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/writing-courses/

    YOUTUBE: Lyrical Language Lab Channel

    BLOG: www.NoWaterRiver.com

     

  • courses,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

    CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery Scholarships

    To read more about the Middle Grade Mastery course go here https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/middle-grade-mastery.html

    If you want to apply for a scholarship here is that link: https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/andrea-davis-pinkney-mg-cb-mastery-scholarship.html Deadline is May 15th!

    If you’ve read any of my posts on the Children’s Book Academy you know how much I love their courses. Mira Reisberg and I are friends and I just can’t not tell my other friends about their courses. I have taken the Craft & Business of Illustrating Children’s Books twice now. Earlier this year I went through the course and I’m still processing everything I learned.

    You might want to know what processing looks like for me. Last time I took the class at the end of 2018. That class lead me to revamp my entire portfolio. I have now replaced every single image in my portfolio with digital work. I’ve also switched from picture books to graphic novels.

    This year I’m working on a graphic novel submission package. I’m now working on 3 new spreads to add to the images I made in class. I also will be working on a script and other things to submit with my package.

    I’ve learned a lot with the CBA and I highly recommend taking this course if you want to learn more about writing MG books! 

    There Are Scholarships!

    The Children’s Book Academy has a lot of great features. You will get feedback from Hillary Homzie and Mira Reisberg. There will be webinars every week where they critique your work. Every webinar has an agent, editor or publisher guest! These guests, Mira, Hillary and a few other people will be looking at your work at the end of the course. If they like your work they might publish, or help you publish your book! Here is that link again for the course: https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/middle-grade-mastery.html

    This course is a bit costly for some. It is well worth the money, believe me! There are also scholarships to those who qualify. I have added a list below so you can see what’s involved. Please apply for these scholarships if you qualify! You can apply here: https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/andrea-davis-pinkney-mg-cb-mastery-scholarship.html

    Deadline is May 15th!

    Easy Peasy Scholarship Criteria (as taken from the CBA email):

    • Be a member of an ethnic minority, or identify as LGBQT, or having a disability, being low-income, being a kid’s librarian, an Aussie, or an SCBWI RA, ARA or IC (Society of Children‘s Book Writers and Illustrators regional helpers who do so much unpaid work for our industry).
    • Be excited about making middle grade novels or chapter books and contributing to the field to help make a better world through these books whether it’s just by creating more joy or by skillfully and subtly integrating social justice themes in your work
    • All applicants must write a 40-60 word description of themselves, their background, and why they’d be a good candidate for this scholarship
    • Writers must compose an up-to 70-word descriptive pitch for the middle grade novel or chapter book that they’d like to work on during the course
    • Illustrators must include a link to their website
    • Let us know if you are already agented and/or published