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11164501_sSince school started, I’ve been reading a poem a day to my Creative Writing students, and since I’ve been searching for great poems to read, I’ve been reading even more poetry than that.

I’ve never read poetry quite so consistently before, and to my surprise, I’ve discovered I enjoy it.

Billy Collins, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marge Piercy, William Stafford, and Gary Soto write poetry that my students and I can connect to. Poems that speak to us. They are not the dusty, archaic poetry that I remember studying in school. I had to decipher those poems, wade into their seemingly endless murky depths and try to make some sort of sense out of them.

I have learned that a great poem conveys an emotion, an image, an idea in a small tight space.

Every word counts.

When I’m writing fiction, I’m thinking about the plot, the characters, the pacing, the conflict. I don’t necessarily think about each individual word, but poetry buy wellbutrin xl 150 mg online teaches us that we should.

Here are a few ideas to get you started applying this idea to your own writing.

Go through your work in progress and look at your verbs. Do they convey the movement and meaning you want? Can a character lurch rather than walk?

Replace any adjectives and adverbs with stronger verbs or descriptive imagery. In her novel Pigs in Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver describes a young woman whose “makeup looks as if she’s given birth to a child since it was applied” (139). This image is poetic in its vividness. There is no question that this girl is having a bad day, but she never says that. It’s all in the imagery.

Cut, cut, cut and focus in on those details that are relevant to the scene you are writing. This is hard work, but it makes for better writing.

What other ideas do you have for making sure every word counts in your fiction?