Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What We Can Learn From The Poets

Poetry is about language. I think for many, they shy away from poetry due to the complexity of the writing style. Still, I do believe there is a lot we can learn from poets. These skills are certainly things that many authors might want to start thinking about more and more in their writing.

IMAGERY - It's all about the picture. This is the place where poets really shine. In those few words, we get a real picture of EVERYTHING that is going on around the author. Poets trust their instincts and draw on ALL of the senses around them to get an image across. For fiction authors, however, we see them falling back on simply visual images. Bummer, they miss out on so much of the true feeling of the scene.

WORD ECONOMY - This is a big one. It is also part of the reason I totally grub on HARLEQUIN stories. These are big stories in little spaces. Yes, we want you to take time to elaborate and really suck us into the story, but you don't need to babble on and on repeating yourself. Find those single words and phrases that accomplish so much.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE - I am a big fan of William Wordsworth. With the publication of Lyrical Ballads he (and Coolridge) turned the writing world upside down and wrote about common, everyday things. Focus on something simple and really explore it. Fiction writers need to remember this. It isn't about shoving a lot of STUFF into your story. Explore the small and simple things. Find a way to make your story something everyone can relate to.

THE EMPHASIS IS THE STORY NOT THE MONEY - This is really on the professional side of things, but I think we can learn a lot from those poets. They write because they love to write. They don't write for the personal glory, the money or the fame. If they get it - great! For them, though, the purpose of writing is self expression and giving something to humanity. This is a big one we can learn from.

Just something to think about today!


1 comment:

  1. Combining imagery with simplicity and economy of words is one of my biggest challenges. I am just too wordy. However, I know it's a worthwhile goal, as some of the most stunning passages I have come across in literature were profound in their simplicity and brevity. For now, I word vomit in the first draft and try to clean it up in the second, but I'll continue to strive toward those briefer first passes.