Author Laurie Wallmark on Writing in Rhyme

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Hello world!!

Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome an author who writes amazing nonfiction, and as I just discovered, also writes amazing fiction and rhyme! Laurie Wallmark drops by to chat about her latest picture book, Dino Pajama Party, illustrated by Michael Robertson and published by Running Press Kids. See her journey below…

You have written many STEM nonfiction books that focus on female pioneers- does fiction excite you as much?
I actually started by writing fiction first. I wrote two novels before switching to picture books. One of the novels sold, but the publisher went out of business. I continued to write fiction, but then had an idea for a nonfiction project. This became ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, a picture book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Although I continued to write fiction, I was definitely hooked on nonfiction, also.

Is your process different when writing nonfiction and fiction?
My process for both starts in a similar manner—with an idea. It’s that niggling something in the back of your mind that you can’t get rid of. From there, though, the process splits for quite a while. For nonfiction (and occasionally fiction), you have to research, research, and research more. After that, the writing process is the same. You need to figure out a structure for your story. It often takes several drafts before I get to the correct structure. Then it’s revise, revise, and revise again.

Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from one of your books.
Dinos rock and dinos roll.
Dinos stomp and dinos stroll.
All the dinos on the street,
Boogie to that funky beat.

Writing in rhyme can be challenging, do you have any tips for aspiring poets?
My best tip is to read a lot of poetry, but more importantly, listen to poetry read aloud. Become comfortable with the rhythm of the words. Hear what rhythm works, and when the reader stumbles or has to put an odd emphasis on a syllable. Make poetry part of you.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to other writers?
Learn to be patient. The writer’s journey is long, but if you continue to work on improving your craft, you’ll get there.

And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I’d definitely be a cat. I could sleep or lounge in the sunlight most of the day, and someone else would feed me.


Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTIONCODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and her debut fiction picture book, DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor.

Twitter:                @lauriewallmark
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8 thoughts on “Author Laurie Wallmark on Writing in Rhyme

    Shannon Howarth Nelsen said:
    October 13, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Congratulations, Laurie! Looks like a cute book.


    chardixon47 said:
    October 9, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Congratulations Laurie. I’ve enjoyed your NF books and I look forward to reading DINO PAJAMA PARTY!


    Jilanne Hoffmann said:
    October 9, 2021 at 1:58 am

    Yes, I think reading poetry is essential not just for rhyming picture books; it expands the world of metaphor, word choice, and lyrical language in general. Looking forward to reading Laurie’s new book! I have all of her dead women in science books, LOL.


    S. K. Wenger said:
    October 8, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Congratulations, Laurie! Your new book sounds amazing! It’s inspiring to read about the different genres you’ve published books in. Thank you for sharing!


    Lauri Meyers said:
    October 7, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Love seeing the silly, rhyming side of your writing be published!


    cindyargentine said:
    October 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Great post! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    Angie said:
    October 7, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Love the rhyme! Thanks, Laurie and Lydia. Great encouragement as well. 🙂


      seschipper said:
      October 7, 2021 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks so much Lydia and Laurie ! Love the ryhme and NF! Great advice! We must be patient! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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