Poetry and Fiction

Hello SEers! This is D.L. Finn, Denise, and I’m excited to be here today and part of such an accomplished group of authors.

For my first post, I decided to talk about something dear to my heart, poetry. It’s a beautiful art form that allows me to express my feelings and observations. But more than that, it’s allowed me to become a better writer. It is the soul of my writing.

When I write a poem, whether it’s a free verse or a Haiku, there is a limit to the number of words I can use. It has forced me to utilize each word carefully, so it provides an impression.

This developing skill of picking impactful words has helped with my fiction writing. I tend to be a wordy writer. Applying what I’ve learned in putting poems together, I cut out those extras that the reader won’t miss and tighten up my work. That removal keeps the story moving. A reader doesn’t want to stumble over unnecessary words that don’t need to be there. They may stop reading at some point.

Another thing that can make people put a book down is a lot of telling over showing. In the first draft of a story, I tell the story to get everything down. My next step is to expand on the ideas and paint a picture of what the characters are experiencing, much like a wonderful poem will do.

A poet will use many tools to do this, including metaphors, alliteration, assonance, or similes.  Using these tools, I can offer all five senses and capture what’s happening in the moment.

In poetry, I want the reader to feel they are there with me, like sitting on the back of a Harley. I take out a pen and paper and write what I feel and experience. I want to share the wind blowing through my hair, the sun warming my face, the splendor of the river, or the choking smoke from a distant fire.

That’s carried over into fictional writing when the characters can give the reader that glimpse into their lives. Is the wind making the character’s eyes water, the sun burning their skin, or the winter air causing goosebumps? Can you hear the leaves crackle as the character hikes through the forest, and what does it smell like? When a character has time to sit down and eat, is it bitter or sweet? Does it evoke emotions, make them choke, or sigh in satisfaction. A good story makes the reader taste, smell, and feel that story.

When I’m reading an excellent book and run across a beautiful passage, I stop and enjoy the poetic prose. Have you come across a paragraph that makes you stop and say, wow? It’s like a beautiful painting, and each stroke blends into a picture that takes your breath away. How our words are placed helps create that moment.

If you want to learn more about poetry, there are classes to take online or at local schools. Many blogs offer advice, challenges, and there are poetry books and magazines to explore. It’s a fun way to tighten up writing while adding some flow and beautiful images that draw the reader into the poetic prose within your fictional story.

76 thoughts on “Poetry and Fiction

  1. What a great post here, Denise. I’m so glad to see you joining this amazing group of authors. Your point on the preciseness of words used in poetry is well taken. I use synonyms and antonym to find better choices of words with the right number of syllables to fit the poetry forms. In doing so, it helps with the word choices in my other writings. I love your poetry and always feel your poems bring me right by you. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love poetry but don’t write it myself. When I was teaching I found that blank verse was the way to unlock creativity in children – especially those lower down the academic scale. I’d put a word up on the board as a title and then we’d start writing it together, editing it as we went along. They could see which bits they really liked and cut the boring bits, changed vocabulary etc until the other lines were good, too. By the time we’d done a couple together they were keen to write their own. Many of them found writing a chore and were happy to have a medium that didn’t require pages of words. At parents evenings it was common for me to hear that poems they’d written had been framed and hung on the wall. A short poem can have as much impact as a long novel. Thanks for this post.

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    • I love that those poems were framed and hung in their homes. What a wonderful way to get kids interested in creating their own beautiful poetry. What an impact you had in those children’s lives. Thank you for sharing this Alex, it made me so happy to think about the gift they received.

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  3. Hi Denise, welcome to SE. I have mentioned numerous times that I have a fondness for poetry (reading, not writing). I took some poetry courses in college, and I have always been impressed with the degree to which poets labor over every word. I think writing and even reading poetry helps us to pay better attention when writing.

    This was a great first post in the group. I’m a recent follower here, and I look forward to reading future posts from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dan 🙂 You make a good point about reading poetry and how it will help us pay attention to our own writing. Yes, each word is so important. Poetry requires a more concentrated reading and I feel like it also helps with editing.

      I look forward to chatting in future posts and glad to be here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It does Jacqui! It is a fantastic reason to teach it in school. I was happy to see my grandkids learning how to write poems in school:)

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  4. Pingback: First Post! @StoryEmpire @StoryEmpire #storyempire #writingcommunity #poetry #writing – Author D.L. Finn

  5. A beautiful post, Denise. I absolutely love what you said about using impactful words. I too, tend to be a wordy writer, and learning to substitute a string of words with one or two powerful ones is still a work in progress for me. I love your poetry. The imagery you manage to provide through a few words is astounding. In answer to your question, yes, I have read a phrase that was so beautifully written I had to stop and really absorb it. Here’s an example from “For You To See The Stars” by Radney Foster. “How long had this view of the heavens been here challenging the ego of humans, a beauty so vast and breathtaking it made us paint, sing, pray, search, or just rest in the awe of its vastness?” Thank you for sharing! A great first post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jan 🙂 Poetry offers us so much and I’m always learning. What an amazing passage! I kept rereading it to take in those beautiful and insight words. I’m so glad you shared it! Xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Michele. Free verse has always been my go to, but lately I’ve been experimenting with other forms and thoroughly enjoying it! My stories aren’t descriptive at all when I first write them, it gets added in later.

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  6. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    D. L. Finn (Denise) is featured today on Story Empire, and her first post there is focused on poetry and how it can make you a better writer. I found it truly interesting, and as someone who has enjoyed writing poetry since early childhood, I was especially interested in what this art form can teach us. You’ll definitely want to check this one out, and I hope you’ll remember to pass it along for others to enjoy, too. Thanks, and thank you, Denise, for giving me a new way to look at poetry. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Denise! Happy First SE Post!! 🙂 Great to see you here, and especially since you’re focusing on one of my earliest loves, poetry! I was filling my father’s legal tablets with long poems about cowboys and horses and cats when I was five, and I’ve never stopped loving poetry. As I was writing my first book, I kept thinking about the beauty of the North Carolina mountains, and knew there would soon have to be a few poems about my main male character’s childhood camping trips there. (So naturally, the second thing I published was a little book of poetry, and the first half, “Mac at Ten,” deals with just that.)

    I do love when a line or two jump out at me while reading, and one of my favorite things about my Kindle is that I can underline those special phrases without marking up my precious print books. Many, many of my eBooks are filled with notes on word usage I loved. (A few have notes on word usages to AVOID, just for my own reminders, too.) But poetry is a gift from on High, in my opinion, and I still read and re-read favorites from years gone by. Every winter, I find myself going around repeating, “Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, when each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” Happy Sigh

    Lovely post with some very good input! And I’m heading straight to Amazon to download your book of poetry, too. Thanks for reminding us how much we can learn from verse. Sharing this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marcia 🙂 There is something special writing poetry through pen onto paper. I used to fashion my poems after, roses are red, when I was a child stated my poetry journey. I never thought to mark those amazing passages, but I will have to now so I cam enjoy them again. I recognized that passage but couldn’t place it, so I looked it up. The Raven, one I love and what better words to say in winter. I hope you enjoy my free verse, my next book will include all the new forms I’ve been learning. I didn’t know you had a poetry book, I will check it out:) xo

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      • Ha. I went to get your poetry book and discovered I’d bought it earlier. DOH! This year has totally destroyed about HALF of my already disappearing gray cells! Yes, I love poetry and am starting to write some new things for another volume, perhaps. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve moved yours to the very top, because it’s easy to fit in a poem here and there, and I want to start enjoying yours like, NOW. 😀 I mostly write blank verse, and it may or may not appeal to you, but it all comes from my heart, so I do hope you find something you’ll enjoy.

        And if you love The Raven–I have everything Poe ever wrote, and his poetry still speaks to me–you will always be a friend of mine. 😀 (BTW, I knew as soon as I hit published, I’d missed a word, but the really pretty ones are all still there. 😀 )

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  8. I’ve dabbled in poetry in my younger years, but never really understood the various forms. I do enjoy reading beautiful poetry (especially nature poetry). When it comes to fiction, I love writing descriptive paragraphs which may be an offshoot from my days of writing poetry. I also think that prose has music, and I listen closely to the ebb and flow of the words as I craft novels.I like how you tied poetry and fiction together in this post, Denise, shedding new light on both!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mae 🙂 I see poetry in your prose, it’s beautiful. There is an ebb and flow just like music, you make a great point. Nature and poetry is an incredible mixture, a place I like to be. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome! I enjoyed this post and never thought about the link between poetry and it’s structure to what I’ll call ‘regular writing’. It definitely gives me something to think about. I’m going to share this with my followers as well. Thanks for the great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not really a poet, but everything you said makes sense. It’s similar to short form fiction that way. I did include one poem in my last Lanternfish book, but that’s about as far as I go with it. It’s a helpful tip, and a great debut post.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I always think about poetry when I’m writing the “pretty” parts of my fiction. Which, I have to admit, are becoming a distant memory as I leave romance in the past and embrace thrillers. But I like to work some descriptive passages in now and again, and I always draw on my poetry background in those cases. It really helps. Great inaugural post, Denise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Staci 🙂 It is fun to bring poetry into the pretty parts, and I like to use it for the dark, mood setting descriptions too. I like how it weaves into what we read and write.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I had not thought of applying the concepts of poetry in fiction. I too tend to get wordy and have to cut uneccessary words or even scenes. Like you, I “tell” a lot in my first draft, then go back and show.

    Great debut post, Denise!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi Denise,
    this post is hitting on many of the things I believe. I love writing poetry, and I am always amazed at what happens when I start revising any poem that I write. I can feel life coming into each line as I throw away what is not needed, or play with a word that can change the whole direction of the poem. I would say poetry and writing flash fiction under a thousand words have been most beneficial to me because I am a wordy writer also and have to cut out the chatter that is clutter and move out into the depth of what I am trying to portray in my fiction, which usually means less words.
    Congratulations on your entry into Story Empire. I wish you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Pat 🙂 I love how you describe working on a poem. It does seem alive and a single word can change the tone and meaning of the entire piece. I just started experimenting with flash fiction and find that helps me with my wordiness issues. I appreciate that and wish you all the best too.

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    • Thank you, Harmony 🙂 Learning different formats to write with less words and using the senses is so helpful. Poetry does bring out that showing. I appreciate you sharing this. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Poetry and Fiction | Story Empire | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  15. Thank you for sharing this amazing insight, Denise. I hadn’t thought about poetry enriching my writing – until now. You are so right! The succinctness inherent in a haiku or tanka or other poetic form forces us to weigh each word carefully for its impact and timing. I see now how that process enriches all writing. Thank you! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Gwen. Yes, finding that right word, which you always do, is very helpful when we write fiction. I’m glad I’m branching out in poetry and other writing to add my skills in getting a story told. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

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