Friday, January 11, 2013

Fictional and poetic formats

When I was well into writing my first novel, I would browse other young adult novels in book stores to see how they were organized.
I had been a reader all of my life, but suddenly I had questions like, "How long is a chapter?"  "Are chapters even necessary?"  "Do chapters need titles?"

The answers to these questions were, you can do what you like.

The first book was divided into large sections, which were titled.
One novel had three narrators and each had her/his own section.
One novel was told in regular chapters, numbered, but not  titled.

I am finished with novel-writing but find myself playing with poetry.  Free verse for now. The same question has emerged. How does the poet decide the shape of the poem?  How does she make decisions about indentations and capitalizations and enjambment.

The answer is the same, I think.  I must do what I please.  I must do what is best for the poem.

These are the best kinds of problems on a snowy, cold day.  I will sit at my desk with my pot of yellow freesia and write some lines.

But first I must swim.


  1. Ah. Kindred spirits.
    I keep revisiting (in my mind) short stories - something that I read in your blog ages ago that you do not enjoy. And I have too many logistical questions - should I throw caution to the wind, then?
    I have forced bulbs throughout the house, and I went out running today. Instead of swimming. But - it's the same.

  2. Love that you're doing this. And that yellow freesia is involved.