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Creative Writing: Poetry & Prose - Part 1

A brief look at poetic forms, styles, sound patterns, and language.

I would suggest learning forms and styles – even if you don’t think you are going to use them in the end. That adage of learning the backbone of things (the rules that others have used) and then discarding them (or breaking them) tends to apply. You tend to become good enough to work without them by growing from and through them and then going beyond, rather than just by ignoring them from the very start. Most babies still learn to crawl before they can walk, and apparently the movement involved in crawling helps to develop certain parts of the brain properly. It’s often only by first trying out various styles (mimicking other voices) that we can then find our own unique and thus truly authentic voice. Again, the growing child gives us a good analogy – children learn to talk first by copying others, before they can begin to develop their own conversational characteristics.

Even so, when it comes to rhyme and language, it is best to try to avoid using obvious clichéd chiming rhymes and archaic language as soon as possible - unless you are trying to be funny, or writing purely for the entertainment of your granny. If you want to get published anywhere that matters then you need to acknowledge that that has been done to death centuries ago, and try to find something that sounds a bit more modern and unique. Twisting your syntax unnaturally to try to force a rhyme has a doubly displeasing effect. You can choose to use rhymes internally instead of at the ends of lines, or even not at all.There is a huge variety of beautiful words available to us, and although there is a deep history of writers, we can still easily find soft rhyming patterns, cadences, and words that sing to us in a special way when we take the time to use them skilfully. It is always better to take the time to seek out the exact words for what you mean to express rather than to make do with second best. Even in prose writing, getting the syntax and individual words just right is very important.

In Part 2 I will look at some other things that help in developing good writing skills and avoiding some of the pitfalls. Including a mention of how some other forms of writing differ from poetry.

Read Part Two

About the author

Julia Woodman
Well-being Consultant, Coach

A nutritional therapist, life coach, counsellor, stress consultant, & writer. Julia helps you heal & resolve any issues, cope with change, or achieve goals. Inc nutrition, meditation, relationships, communication, empowerment, creativity.

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