Sunday, June 5, 2011
The Rhythm is Gonna Get You! How writers can use Poetry to hone their craft...
“The rhythm is gonna’ get you!”---Gloria Estefan
Would you like to be a better “performer” on page? To have your words “wow” today’s reader? Do you have difficulty with structure and flow? Or perhaps your goal is to be brief but substantive in your expression.
If so, you might be surprised to discover that there is much that poetry offers to writers of all genres seeking to enhance writing skills and
become more profitable. And I should know.
Long before I earned a living at doling out advice to the lovelorn, penning profile pieces, or blogging, I published poetry. Lots of it. Some good---some not so much.
Still, this “former life” and creative license has often caused editors to comment positively on my flow, smooth transitions and facility with words. Appealing like “music to their ears.”
Which ultimately translates into greater interest, a greater acceptance rate and greater pay.
If you too want your work to stand out, require less revision, and say more with fewer words, here are a few tips and poetic techniques to enhance your efforts and your bottom line.
1. Keep it short and sweet. Word economy is crucial in poetry. Crafting couplets, quatrains and Haikus requires a specific amount of lines, and sometimes even syllables. You’ll find that adhering to structured formats will help you to maintain editors’ word counts and submission guidelines for projects like anthologies and interviews.
Need a quick refresher on poetic techniques and definitions?
Check out: www.poemofquotes.com/ and experiment. You’ll also find that poetry proficiency lends itself to writing for greeting card markets as well.
2. Read your work aloud. To render a specific feel, sound and impact, poets often read their words aloud to perfectly polish their pieces. You should too. It’s the best way to detect typos, awkward phrasing, and poor structure.
3. Make use of metaphors. A Metaphor is a figure of speech that implies a connection between two unlike things. For example, life is often compared to a journey, or to a road, or to a lesson. Metaphors do to writing what spices add to cooking: they enhance the overall experience and add a little “flavor“.
4. Exercise your creative license. Poets are known for distinguishing themselves by daring to be different. e.e. cummings was noted for using lower-cased letters and breaking capitalization rules, for instance. Though you should observe most rules for formal writing, there are a few that can be broken to your benefit. I sometimes use fragments, or end sentences with prepositions, when doing so makes sense and suits my creative purpose. Word!
5. Establish symmetry by varying sentence length. Sentences that are too short throughout your piece come off as choppy. Long ones can cause the reader to over labor and become lost. Use a combination of both for greater success in your word choices.
Follow these five tips and you’ll give your work a more competitive edge and increase your earnings. Charles Baudelaire perhaps said it best, “Always be a poet, even in prose.”