The Diminishing Verse Style of Poetry

Here is a different form for those who like to write poetry. It’s called the diminishing verse. There are no rules, rhymes, syllables, or stanza length.  All you do is remove the first letter of the end word from the previous line. Here is what I came up with:

Summer has left a trace,

Flowers fried in the wake of heat’s race,

Immobile husks remain like death’s ace.

Glamor has gone where?

Certainly not here

All this was a gift, ere

the light fades, think not for Autumn is unbelievably smart,

for it parades its paint board mart

like pieces of fine art.

Orange, red, and gold spray

leaves that seem to pray,

frozen treasures shine like a golden ray.

Where did summer’s glamor stray?

It seemed to pass the tray.

Now Autumn has entombed its beauty like a rainbow ray.

Pitching to an Agent

If you’re going to a writing conference, keep a copy of your manuscript with you. It’s better to be prepared. Practice your pitch before the conference. You never know if an agent or editor might be present and wants to hear about your story. Memorizing your pitch is fine, but have it written on an index card that you can refer to it. Nervousness can zap away your thoughts. Keep these things in mind for a fiction novel pitch:

  • What does your character want?
  • Why does he want it?
  • What keeps him from getting to his goal?
  • What conflicts does the character go through?
  • What choices does the character make?
  • Who is your character?
  • Genre?
  • Give a small description of your character
  • Title?
  • Completed word count ready

For a nonfiction novel pitch, answer these questions:

  • What is the relevance of your topic?
  • Why is it important?
  • Do you have the credibility to write on this topic?
  • Have you compared other authors’ novels to yours?
  • How is yours different?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Will it solve any problems?

It’s best to have a polished, completed manuscript or book proposal ready to go. You don’t want an eager agent to lose faith in you after you’ve pitched your heart out.

Children’s Books

When it comes to children’s stories, the word count varies, depending on the type of book you want to write. For picture books, a good goal is under 500 words, but the shorter the better. Emergent readers have only 32 words. In easy readers, the word count depends on the level you are writing. Level one is usually 200 words. A typical level three can range from 800 to 1200 words.  In chapter books, the range increases anywhere from 5000 to 25,000. A good minimum goal for middle grade novels is 30,000 words and the upper into the 60,000. The young adult or teen novels start from 40,000 and go up.

A good investment is to buy a Children’s Writer’s Word Book. It contains word lists grouped by grade. The internet and educational TV have had a great impact on children’s vocabulary. Children often comprehend more than they can articulate, but if we communicate below their level they become bored. This book helps ease the writer into their world that they can understand. Another good tool is to sit down at the mall or the playground and listen to children talk. Visit the library and see what books are popular with the level you wish to write.

In this fast-paced world, you must capture your audience right away. Always start out with a good hook. Let your reader see, feel, taste, smell your story through your main character. Children like to pretend they are the character. Make it worth their time.

The Siren’s Song

Glory be to the beautiful one

That woke the dawn

With her melodious song.

A lilting voice sweeter than the ripest of fruits

That carried above the keyboard of trees

And captured her listener mute.

Her song reached the peak of turbulent waves,

Bringing the strongest of sailors to their knees,

And echoed throughout the ocean floor caves.

My heart swelled with pride,

As my love strummed her fingers through her long, golden hair,

And struck a high note with a cry.

My siren maid charmed her ways

Into the hearts of many a man all with a single note,

But no other can love her more than I,

For my love will not fade.

I am not a mortal man hypnotized by her games,

Yet my heart is imprisoned by her song.


Here is a fun poem I wrote about kisses….

Some kisses are sloppy and wet,

While others are hard to forget.

Some have you wanting for more,

While others are left at the door.

Some kisses are nibbles at best,

While others you might want a rest.

Some are battled with tongue,

While others are best swept under the rug.

Some kisses are rough and raw,

While others take a spell to unthaw.

Some might catch you by surprise,

While others are highly prized.

But my favorite kisses of all,

Are the ones from my true heart’s call.


Concept of Flash Fiction

Flash fiction has become popular. It is a growing phenomenon in our fast-paced world. Many publishers and contests are open to flash fiction. So what exactly is it? Flash fiction is a short-short story with various word counts, but generally under 2000.  Most of the contests I’ve seen are even shorter. They can range from under 1000 words to only 6 words. Flash fiction can fall under any genre.

Since the piece is short, consider one main character. Focus on a single problem and what the character has the most to lose. Paint your characters and action with small vivid scenes. Your setting must be strong and hold the mood of the entire piece. The plot is not something that takes a long time to develop in flash fiction. You must cut to the chase. Each word is working for space in your story. In short-short stories, you need a great ending as well as a good hook. Word limits challenge and sharpen your skills.