All you need is prose! (and poetry)

Senior Reading at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Jacksonville.

Sarah Buckman at the Senior Public Reading. Hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Jacksonville.

Right now, I am in poetry mode. In school (and at home), I am still writing poetry about weather and what people have lost, and to be honest, it can be really hard to translate that into “fiction mode.” It’s harder than it seems to switch from line breaks and meaningful pauses to paragraphs and key words. But the key to doing anything is practice. My advice would be to write prose poetry if you are having trouble connecting back to fiction. A prose poem is a poem in all aspects, except it looks exactly like a prose piece. This can be very helpful, as the form of the poem can help stir your mind about “past fictional experiences.” Sometimes just seeing a poem in the form of fiction can help to move that block in your head that’s screaming “Poetry, give me Poetry!” This is a really effective way to change your view on prose. You can still use some poetic technique in fiction. Imagery? That is what keeps fiction going, and don’t even get me started on characterization. Another method to get into fiction mode: read fiction. It sounds simple and it is! Anyone who wants to be better in their craft should read what the professionals write. It just makes sense to read a piece by one of the masters if you want to be a master one day too. So go out and read some fiction. Search a topic that interests you and find a piece that is about that topic. Or find your favorite fiction writer and read their work. What you want to do is immerse yourself in what you are writing. If you always have trouble with plot in your fiction writing, read an author who has great plot technique. By immersing yourself in the classics, you will find your writing getting better over time. So to review, write some prose poetry to help your brain get into the fiction mindset, and read fiction! Once you immerse yourself in the world of fiction, you may just find it hard to leave!

– Sarah Buckman, Editor-in-chief