Building A Chapbook

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The 2016 November Poem A Day Challenge ended a little more than then a month ago, but for me the challenge continues. Rather than writing a new poem every single day, it’s now about building a chapbook to submit in the competition that follows the PAD challenge.

The goal is to submit a polished chapbook of 20 poems. During the challenge I wrote about 40 poems, which means I have whittle down my collection by half. Yikes!

I was able to eliminate 15 right off the bat. I didn’t feel they were strong enough and no amount of editing was going to save them. Sometimes a poem is just bad and there’s nothing to do but let it go!

That left me with 25 haikus to revise, edit, and organize. Haikus are often viewed as a simplistic form that doesn’t require a lot of revision, but nothing could be further from the truth! With only three lines and minimal syllable count, every word has to be perfectly chosen and placed.

The revision process really gets to the core of the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining poems. Some really start to stand out, while others begin to fade away. Five more poems were scrapped for simply being too boring or having no clear connection to others in the group.

Once I had my 20 poems, it was time to decide what order the poems will appear in the chapbook. This is more than a little overwhelming, especially since the prompts for the challenge were pretty random.

However, I feel like I have a little bit of a crutch in this department. Haiku are often organized by season, so I decided to follow that tradition. Some of my poems were obvious representations of a season, while others were more abstract. For example, a poem that mentions flowers would fall into spring or summer (depending on the flower), while a senryu that emphasizes a moment of melancholy can be filed under winter.

This strategy worked out pretty well! I ended up with fairly even groupings of poems and it just became a matter of ordering 4 to 6 poems in each group to create flow within and between each season.

The deadline for submission approaches and I’m excited to send in my entry! Good luck to every poet who participates in the competition!

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c.b.w. 2017

 

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November Challenges: Week #4

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The close of November brought the end of both NaNoWriMo and the Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides on Writer’s Digest). By some miracle, I managed to complete my goals for both challenges despite a few days of writer’s block and the Thanksgiving holiday.

NaNoWriMo

Early Bird word count: 1,611

Week 1 word count: 3,262

Week 2 word count: 4,567

Week 3 word count: 3,535

Week 4 word count: 2,416

Total: 15,391

I hit my goal of 15,000 words (plus a little more). It doesn’t get any better than that! All I can say is I’m grateful for planning a little bit ahead when I clocked in three early bird writing days. I knew Thanksgiving weekend was going to be crazy, so I worked in a few extra days beforehand to alleviate the stress of cramming in writing time while also trying to spend time with family. Thank goodness the only pantsing going on was with the actual writing, rather than with scheduling!

The Month’s Trends:

I pantsed it the entire time!

I fully expect to be referencing my notebook during the next phase of my novel, but the first seven chapters were completed pantsed. And I loved every second of it! I never would have guessed it, but pantsing is quite liberating.

I’ve always planned everything I write, but this time my characters had other things in mind. I fully intend on giving them more control as the process continues. Why bother fighting them? They know their story best, right?

Music Matters

I’ve always used carefully constructed playlists to help fuel my muse’s imagination. Even with pantsing, this is still true. Imagine Dragons, Junip, and Muse all played a key role in giving my main characters a deeper sense of emotion, while also unearthing some pretty interesting secrets.

I have a lucky charm.

My typewriter key pendant has become a talisman of inspiration. I don’t know if I’m just imagining things, but my writing time always seemed to go a little smoother when I wore it. I’ll be wearing it until The Muse’s sequel is finished.

There’s always time to write.

Is my life crazy busy? Yes. But this month has reminded me that there is always time to write. I just have to want it bad enough. Small sacrifices had to be made, but it was worth it overall to get the chance to tell the story that’s been inside my head for so long.

November Poem A Day Challenge

A month of poeming has come to an end and I’m proud to say I wrote a poem for each day in November. I had to play catch-up a couple of times, but I still completed the challenge on time.

The next step is choosing 20 poems to create a chapbook submission. I’ve entered this competition several times before without success, but I’ll jump in again anyway. It’s free to enter and I love the challenge of piecing together a collection. I learn something every year about what works and what doesn’t when selecting poems for a chapbook.

The last batch of poems I wrote for the PAD challenge will be posted on my haiku blog, Haiku Tree, throughout this week. Check it out!

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How did you fare on your goals for November?

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c.b.w. 2016

 

Linger

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Misty moonlight,
drifting in trees
The weight of night,
asking to stay
Dawn marches on,
chasing the stars
Darkness fades out,
giving new light

Morning Mist in Bath, England
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

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Special Note: This poem also marks the end of the  Writer’s Digest 2013 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge. I wrote these lines in response to the November 30th prompt, write a disappearing poem. They just happened to fit perfectly with the photograph I was planning to use for this week’s Sunday Abroad. I love it when that happens!

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c.b.w. 2013

Poem A Day: November 26-29

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Through Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the Writer’s Digest 2013 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge must continue. Only one more day to go!

November 26, 2013
Prompt: Two for Tuesday
 1. Take the phrase “Free (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.
2. Take the phrase “(blank) Free,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

November 27, 2013
Prompt: Write a local poem. 

November 28, 2013
Prompt: Write a bird poem.

November 29, 2013
Prompt: Write a commercial poem.

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c.b.w. 2013

Poem A Day: November 23-25

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The final week in the  Writer’s Digest 2013 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge is finally here!

November 23, 2013
Prompt: Write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem. You can decide where you shouldn’t be: maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a time, or maybe (just maybe) it’s a state of mind.

November 24, 2013
Prompt: Write a poem that responds to a statement.

Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no one can take it away.  – Ai Weiwei

November 25, 2013
Prompt: For today’s prompt, take a poem from earlier in the challenge (that you’ve written) and remix it.

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c.b.w. 2013