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.

Advice to Writers

In this fast, technical world, people don’t always take the time to relax, but when they do, and they pick up something you have written, remember to give your reader time to breathe. They need time to see how your characters interact, they need to feel what your characters  feel, to grieve along with them, and care about them.

Pack That Emotion Into Your Story

If you are writing any story, but especially YA, then you need to have a great emotional starting point for your main character.  Ask yourself, what is the character’s emotional state at the beginning? Is he naïve, selfish, or insecure? Choose an emotional end point that is opposite from the beginning. What experiences help the character grow? Who do they meet that might hinder their growth? Mistakes must be made along the way so the character can grow. For example: an overconfident PTA leader loses her audience when she puts a new member down that brings in new ideas. What can she learn from this new member? She must learn to listen to others and not assume everything will go her way. Maybe her husband works with the new member’s husband and invites them over for drinks. Does the wife refuse to serve them or invite them inside her home? I’m sure you can think of other examples. Have fun.

Synopsis Criteria

You’ve tackled your novel and now you’re ready to write the synopsis before you turn it in. What are the essential things you need in the synopsis? First, the synopsis should be written in the present tense and in third person. Try to limit it to one page. Think of your synopsis as your selling point to your reader or editor. Begin with your premise or an opening statement to hook your reader. This should communicate the setting and genre. For example:   Last Chance, Idaho is the last place you’d expect an alien to walk into the local tavern.

Introduce the main character with a few words that describe him and then tell the reader what he wants. Include the inciting incident that launches your character into his journey. Leave out secondary conflicts and sub-plots. Detail what happens between the bulk of the story from first plot point to midpoint and through the climax. Stay focused on the main characters. In the final section of the synopsis, spell out the resolution. The synopsis is a summary of your story.

The Write Way

There is nothing more tiresome for a reader, than seeing the same words over and over in the same paragraph. A thesaurus and a synonym finder should be a writer’s right hand. Read your work out loud to hear your errors or repetition of the same words. Avoid overusing the word, it without an explanation as to who, it is referring to. Break up any monotonies. Long paragraphs exhaust the eyes. Break them up to make it more appealing to the reader. Think visually as you write. Use all five senses to make your story come alive for your reader.

What a Story Needs

Every good story is built around a problem, a conflict, or a challenge for its protagonist. The reader will root for him, agonize over his setbacks, and rejoice in his eventual triumph.

Who is telling the story? The beginning introduces the main character in action and sets up the story problem. Therefore, the main character or protagonist only knows what he experiences or is told about. Convey other characters through the protagonist’s eyes. The middle of the story shows the character tackling the problem. The dramatic high point is the climax of the story. The ending resolves the problem.

Dialogue brings the character to life. It also moves the story forward. Tell the story from the protagonist’s point of view to create a strong sense of identification. In a sense, the reader becomes the hero.


The Ovillejo Poem

It’s poetry month. The ovillejo is a Spanish form comprised of 10 lines. It has 3 rhyming couplets ( 2 line stanzas) and a quatrain (4 line stanza). The first line of each couplet is 8 syllables long and presents a question or a statement. The second line responds in 3-4 syllables either as an answer or echo. The concluding quatrain, first 3 lines are eight syllables long. The final line combines lines two, four, and six. Here is an example from The Flirt.

Are you thinking of me at all?

Maybe this Fall.

You’re draining me of my power.

I’m a flower.

Think of me when your heart is free.

Bring the key.

I want your honey like a bee.

Give me your sweet nectar, I beg.

I hear you pulling my leg.

Maybe this Fall, I’m a flower. Bring the key.






The Challenge of a Story

Every good story is built around a problem, a conflict, or a challenge for its protagonist. The reader will root for him, agonize over his setbacks, and rejoice in his eventual triumph. A beginning introduces the main character in action and sets up a story problem. A middle shows the character tackling the problem. An ending resolves the problem. The dramatic high point is the climax of the story.

Our forebears communicated knowledge, accumulated wisdom, and common experience through the magic of words. Stories have forecast danger, celebrated heroes, provided building blocks for peace, triggered wars, and vilified enemies. It was a way of entertainment. We look for excitement, wisdom, and comfort from a story. It connects us and takes us to other worlds.

As writers, you give voice to the voiceless. You introduce new ways of thinking and lift the reader closer to the light. There is power and purpose of story. Storytelling is an art and a craft. A good story captivates its audience and as writers we must master the skill.

There are many facets to a story as there are people to imagine it. The seed of a story is encountering the extraordinary in the ordinary. Expose your imagination to possibilities. Each author should approach the structure of a story in a way that is comfortable for him.

In the beginning, define what your hero wants and why he wants it. In the middle, create the obstacles the hero must overcome to reach his goal. And in the end, resolve the situation in a believable way. Once you’ve settled on these fundamentals, build the story around them. Consider the different ways to structure your narrative and choose the methods you prefer. Trust in your story and promise yourself you’ll finish it.

Effective Dialogue

Dialogue brings the characters to life. It also moves the story forward. Before you can write the dialogue, first ask yourself, who is telling the story? The story from the main character’s point of view creates a story sense of identification. In a sense, the reader becomes the hero. The main character only knows what he experiences or what is told to him. The other characters in the story must be conveyed through the main character’s eyes. If the story is told through the protagonist, you can’t hop into another character’s head.

How do you make dialogue sound authentic? Listen. Sit in a mall, a park, a school, or anywhere there are people and listen to the sound of their voices and their dialogue. Do they have a lisp? Do they stutter? Do they repeat certain words? Do they have an accent?

Dialogue is always enclosed in quotation marks. It’s the signal that tells the reader these are spoken words. Each time the speaker changes, you must start a new paragraph. Punctuation at the end of the spoken words goes inside the end-quote marks. A tagline states who is speaking. A tagline isn’t always necessary when it’s clear who is speaking. When a tagline comes first, use a comma to introduce the dialogue.

I hope this helps those that have had problems understanding how to write effective dialogue.