You know when you are reading a poem and you hit a line in the poem that makes you go “ah ha!”? You find a line that causes you to see the entire point of the poem or line of thought the author is trying to convey? It’s like a touch of magic, is it not? Stay tuned for free worksheet attached.
When you are writing, don’t forget to look for that line, the line that causes you as the author listening to your own poem to go “AH HA!”.
What causes that moment?
- sensory detail that surprises the reader
- a lingering note, a sound that rings
- an odour that brings a memory
- a change in the structure of the poem
- a detail described in an unexpected manner
- the unexpected that cements a thought
But how does one prepare for the unexpected as an author? How can you build that into your verse? Can it be learned like how one used adjectives or adverbs better? How can you find those moments (which can be different for individuals) that turn the light on in a poem?
You prepare by reading verse looking for what hits you emotionally, surprises you making you say “NO!”, changes the way you think, gives a picture you won’t soon forget and/or rings true in your heart. Look for it, and in that looking, you’ll learn how to write it. Or if not HOW to write it, to at least be willing, to take risks in your art, to experiment with a new style of writing, and to be willing to even surprise yourself.
Don’t force it… just read, and write, and practice. Bring out your own true thoughts and play around with how you put them on paper. have your moments be so real, so poignant that the memories linger in the minds of your readers. Write your words down, re-read them, bring out the emotion and paint your pictures, and let the surprise and wonder and lingering memories happen.
To practice this skill I’ve put together a worksheet that you might find useful.