What is a poem? Some may think a poem has to rhyme. (I disagree.) Others believe the syllables must be counted, or that a poem must be stuffed full of alliterative language. But what about free verse? What makes a block of words, a sentence chopped up onto several lines, a poem, rather than a mere chopped-up sentence or a paragraph scattered over several lines?
To me, writing a poem is about capturing a moment. It could be a feeling, a natural occurrence, or a quick glimpse into the life of one person. Most of my poetry describes just one, very small moment. These moments might last only a few seconds, or as long as several minutes. Rarely does the poem capture more than a very short block of time. (more…)
Last night, I dreamed I was reading a novel synopsis on the cover of a book. I woke at 2 a.m. with the words of that synopsis echoing in my head. I lay in a half-sleep thinking, “That sounds like a good book, I should really read that one.” Then it occurred to me the synopsis had come from my head, not from any now-published novel, and it hit me: I’d better write that down!
I tapped my tappable bedside lamp for some light, reached for my bedside pen and notebook, and started scribbling the words from that dreamed synopsis before they could dissipate into the night. I filled one notebook page then, thinking I was done, put it aside and shut off my lamp. I thought I would drift back to sleep. (more…)
This morning, I’m typing up a couple of “found” scenes I wrote in a notebook almost four years ago. (I mentioned these scenes in an earlier post.) When I wrote these, I wasn’t really thinking about them in terms of scenes, but was scribbling out a freewrite with some ideas I had for a novel.
Many of my freewrites begin with me telling myself about something I want to do, and then they morph into scenes as I enter “the zone.” So it was no surprise to me when the first few paragraphs I typed up were back-story. But as I was typing, it occurred to me that what I had on the page at this moment was a theme, not a scene or even back-story. (more…)
It’s funny how I write a lot of poetry when I’ve been reading a lot of poetry. I don’t really read much of it at all, unless I have to for school. But this month, several of the blogs I follow have been posting poems as part of the Poem-a-Day Challenge. So, here I am, popping out poems when I should be working on my novel. But I guess I could use the distraction. Who knows, maybe my prose will be the better for it.
Here’s my latest:
Love Long Distance
ever noticed (more…)
I just completed the synopsis of my work in progress and thought I would share it with my readers here at Write on the World. For all of you who have been following me and wondering what, exactly, I am writing about, here it is:
Into the World of Men is a dystopian science fiction novel that explores the themes of freedom and a woman’s place in the world. It is the story of M., a young woman whose family has kept her and her half-sisters hidden away in a secluded barn to keep them safe from a world where women are nothing more than property to the men in power. M. longs to escape the monotony and oppression of life in her secret barn. When King Mentor Drak discovers M.’s existence, he insists that she attend the naming ceremony of her new baby brother, thus forcing her out of exile against the wishes of her family. (more…)
April is National Poetry Month. So, I thought I would attempt to scratch out at least one new poem this month as my contribution. With that said, today I am sharing an original poem inspired by spring:
First Day Budding
A blush of white on trees
on the way
Not when it’s raining
as though every tree
is about to burst forth
with cherry blossoms.
the whole world
will be green.
By Amanda L. Webster (more…)
I’ve been zipping through the story line of my novel for the past couple of months in an effort to get the entire story on the page without worrying about revisions. I’ve hit 46,472 words, and I’ve been feeling pretty good about the whole thing. That is, until a few days ago when I got the idea that my story line had somehow veered away from where I wanted it to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to changing direction when it’s appropriate. However, it seems like this time I have turned down a dead-end. The story train has derailed, and I’m left wondering how to pick up the pieces of the train wreck and put it back on the right track. (more…)
This morning, I came across a cute plot skeleton graphic on Pinterest, and I couldn’t help comparing it to my novel and my own personal life story. It’s funny how every good story seems to follow this same organizational pattern. Luckily, my novel so far has all of the basic parts. As does my life!
I am currently working my way up to the “bleakest moment” of my novel and am finding it harder and harder to write as I draw ever closer to doing some horrible things to my protagonist. I think part of the problem is that some of the horrors I am about to put her through are drawn from certain incidents in my own life. As I am writing these scenes, I’m personally transported to a time in my life that I’d rather not relive. (more…)
Names and titles used to be the bane of my existence.
I can’t begin to tell you how much time I have wasted agonizing over names for characters and titles for stories. I have recently realized that those names and titles will eventually reveal themselves to you once you learn to listen for them.
I’ve had a name for my current novel-in-progress for some time, but I haven’t been entirely happy with it. It’s okay, but it doesn’t really sum up the novel in the way I want it to. But, I hate thinking about titles, so I just went with it and kept writing. After all, there’s no sense agonizing over a title at the expense of writing the story. (more…)
Do you remember a while back when I was talking about my new project and how it had just come to me out of the blue? At the time, I thought my new novel project was this fresh idea I had that just took off like I’d been mulling it over my entire life even though I just thought of it a couple of months ago. That was until this morning when I stumbled across an old journal.
I was digging around for a notebook I could use for freewrites and scene ideas so I could keep those separate from the chronological chapters I’ve been writing one after another in my current journal. I remembered seeing a pretty notebook in the bottom of a desk drawer the other day while digging around for something else I never found and figured that one would do the job.
So, I went back and dug this notebook out of the bottom of that drawer and flipped it open to see if it had enough empty pages in it for me to squeeze in some free writes. Imagine my surprise when I realized this notebook was full of old freewrites that turned out to be directly related to my current story! (more…)
Has this happened to you? You create a solid outline of your novel, and you think you have everything figured out, and then BAM! You realize your story has taken off and is completely running away with you. There is far more to your story than you previously thought. You realize you have more to figure out than you could have ever imagined, and it scares the shit out of you. This is where I’ve found myself this past week. (more…)
Is your story making you angry? Maybe you’ve written several chapters, and each of them alone seem like a great start, but you’re having a hard time getting them to work together as a whole. What do you do when you hit these rough patches that make you feel like you will never be able to make your novel “work?”
One strategy I suggest to help you get over that rough patch is to take yourself out of the “official” story for a while, have a couple of glasses of wine (or a couple of beers,) and sit and do some free writes looking at the story from the point of view of the most minor character in the novel. (more…)
I can’t seem to write without reading. And when I do read, I always end up writing in the same genre I’ve been reading. When I read a lot of poetry, I find myself writing a lot of poetry. If I’ve read a couple of good YA novels in a row, my brain wants to write a YA novel. So, it was no surprise that an idea for a fantasy novel popped into my head right as I was finishing Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind a couple of weeks ago.
I was out for my almost-daily walk one morning when a couple of interesting characters began to have a conversation in my head. Normally when this happens, I reach for a pen and paper (or my laptop) and rush to capture these conversations word-for-word. What I usually end up with is a small bit of compelling dialogue that goes absolutely nowhere. (more…)
It’s been some time since I’ve posted for Poetry Friday, but inspiration struck a moment ago, so I decided to pounce. Is it too soon to hope I’ve finally recovered from my bout with writer’s block?
Today’s poem is inspired by my kitten, Zelda, who is turning out to have quite the personality:
My cat thinks I’m her prey.
She stalks me through the house,
Crouching on the stairs
Or behind a curtain,
Just waiting for me to pass
So she can pounce.
~By Amanda L. Webster (more…)
As a high school student, I always hated it when my literature teachers insisted that we identify the themes and motifs of the stories we read. However, as an adult, I have found that my life is laced with a few distinct recurring themes and motifs.
For today’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, I invite you to take a look at your own life and consider what themes and motifs seem to appear most frequently. Then choose one of these themes (and/or motifs) and write an essay, short story, or poem that explores the impact of this theme on your life.
You might also consider how the themes and motifs from your everyday life influence your writing in general. For example, do you often find yourself incorporating these same themes into each piece? (more…)
Earlier this week, my 12-year-old came home from school with a booklet of poems he’d written for his English class. They’d read the book, Far North, by Will Hobbs, and had to write several poems about the book in a variety of forms.
I was more than just a little impressed with some of the poems my son had written, so I asked him if I could share one on my blog for Poetry Friday, which is sponsored this week by Random Noodling. This is the poem he chose for me to share:
Clint (a name poem)
Could you see that plane fly by
Like a bird
In the sky
Now the plane is going down
The bush pilot Clint was never found
~By Corbin DesJardins
And I wanted to share one more. This place poem was one of my favorites in Corbin’s collection: (more…)
It’s April. The poetic vibes fill the air as our collective minds turn themselves to poetry for National Poetry Month. I haven’t shared anything for Poetry Friday in several weeks, but I’d like to get back in the habit, at least for this month.
I wrote a lot of poetry last fall while taking a course in writing poetry for children and young adults, but I haven’t written much since. I’ve noticed that if I’m reading poetry regularly, the poems flow from my pen (or keyboard) with little effort. But, when I’m not reading poetry regularly, I just get the occasional snippet. And if I don’t sit down right away and work that snippet into a full poem, it just sits in my pretty poetry notebook and goes to waste. (more…)
For this week’s Poetry Friday, hosted by Writing the World for Kids, I am sharing another original poem. This is a rough draft I think could use some revisions, so I would love to hear any feedback you might have on how to make it better. I am especially having some problems with the rhythm in a couple of these lines. Please post your feedback in the comments below.
Church on Time
Red painted church marm in a
white Grand Prix
squeals around the corner and
glares at me. (more…)
Today I’m writing a story about something that happened to me about 13 years ago. I don’t know how you feel about the passing of time, but for me, 13 years is a LONG time ago. So, I can remember major details, but some of those minor details have me questioning my memory. In this particular story, there is a nasty fight and an unfortunate incident with an apple pie. But I can’t, for the life of me, remember which happened first. Dilemma, dilemma.
So, what do you do when you’re writing about something that actually happened but can’t remember such important details? And what if you can remember the details, but the story works better if you rearrange events? I’m not writing a memoir, simply using actually happenings as the basis for a short story I’ll pass off as fiction. All names will be changed to protect the identities of those involved, of course. (more…)
For today’s Poetry Friday, sponsored this week by Wild Rose Reader, comes from real-life. I remember how “everyone” in my 8th grade class talked about the girl who had a baby over the summer, and I also remember wondering if I was the only person who didn’t judge her. I only wish I’d had the guts to speak up for her. (more…)
I’m one course and a thesis paper away from completing my masters degree in professional writing at Mount Mary College, and I’m feeling pressed to decide on a specific career course. So yeah, I’m a writer: but what kind of writer am I? I’ve written poetry, short stories, parts of novels, but for a long time I’ve struggled to find that one niche that I am really passionate about. Until I recently discovered YA.
Okay, so I’m sure I’ve read plenty of YA novels in the past. I’ve occasionally read some of my son’s books, and he’s getting into that age range. And, I’m quite sure I read tons of YA when I was a YA myself. But until recently, I haven’t really studied the genre.
While taking my poetry course this past fall, I read Crossing Stones, a novel in verse by Helen Frost, and I just LOVED that book and form. I then read a few of her other books: The Braid, Diamond Willow, and her latest, Hidden. All great reads. I found a lot of inspiration in these books and began to wonder if I could write something similar myself. (more…)
Like waves, we lap
upon the shore,
of life. (more…)
I started keeping a journal around the age of 12. I used to lay in bed at night and write in my journal almost every evening before I went to bed. I filled notebook, after notebook, after notebook. I kept up with this practice for almost 10 years until my (now ex-) husband decided to read my journal, wasn’t happy with something I wrote, and then proceeded to burn my journal and forbid me from writing anything anymore. Needless to say, it was not a happy marriage. (more…)
In my poetry class this semester, we have discussed several different poetry forms, and I even attempted a few different forms myself. I’d like to to approach this week’s Poetry Friday with a discussion of the Cinquain form.
In researching this form, I found that there are a few different acceptable approaches to writing the Cinquain, each with its own benefits and challenges. For my poetry assignment, I researched the various types and wrote three different poems using Cinquain patterns found on the Teacher Webspace website. The following is an explanation of each individual Cinquain pattern, paired with an original poem by myself: (more…)