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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The November Plan

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After some careful thought and consideration, I think I’ve come up with a plan for the month of November. Both novelists and poets look forward to November as a month that both inspires and challenges thanks to NaNoWriMo and the Poem A Day Challenge on Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest). I’ve participated in both in various forms, but as I posted last week, I found myself in a quandary about what to do this year, (see This Writer’s November Debate).

To satisfy both the call of the novel and my muse’s obsession with haiku, I’m going to attempt an interesting compromise of both November challenges.

I’ve decided to attempt a modified run at NaNoWriMo. I like the idea of having a kick in the pants to start writing another novel.

The sequel for The Muse has been haunting me for a while. My characters are getting very chatty and the story is reasonably sketched out. I started writing The Muse with less than what I have for Lineage (see, I even have a title), so I feel pretty confident moving forward.

The goal is to write 500 words a day. Despite a heavy workload at the day job, I think this is plausible given my average writing speed. If all goes well I’ll have 15,000 words by the end of November.

As for the PAD Challenge, I’m going to approach this in a different way. In years past, I diligently posted a poem a day in the Poetic Asides comment section. My current haiku writing schedule will not allow for this, so I’m going to modify the poem-a-day framework to match what I’m already doing.

Saturday is haiku writing day – I punch out anywhere from 7-10 haikus every week. All I need to do is reference the PAD challenge prompts each Saturday and write haikus to match those prompts.

The haikus I write will not be posted here, but instead will be posted on what until now has been my secret haiku blog. For the last year and a half, I’ve posted a haiku every single day on Haiku Tree. This is the home for the haikus I write on Saturdays. I figure the PAD Challenge will simply direct haikus I’m already going to write rather than add another task to my schedule.

I hope my muse is ready to write, write, and write some more.

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c.b.w. 2016

This Writer’s November Debate

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With November just around the corner, this writer finds herself at a crossroads. I’m not talking about the horrific election, but rather the opportunities November affords to writers of poetry and fiction. There are two big options on the table, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Option #1: Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest) November Poem A Day Challenge

Pros: I’ve participated in the PAD challenge for the last three years. The prompts are challenging, original, and always push my poetry to a new level. In addition, the camaraderie among poets is amazing and very uplifting.

Cons: I’m already writing a poem a day for National Haiku Writing Month. While February is technically the official Haiku Writing Month, prompts are posted for every day of every month. While haikus are short poems, they do take time to piece together. I’m not sure about adding a second set of prompts to an already full haiku writing schedule.

Possible Solution: I could give up NaHaiWriMo for a month and just focus on the PAD Challenge.

Option #2: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Pros: I’ve been itching to start writing another novel. In particular, I want to get moving on the sequel to The Muse. I’ve got the basic story outlined, (although there are some pretty big holes to fill in), and my characters are getting chatty in my head. I already know where the story will start, I have a prologue in play, and I know how it ends. I just need a nudge to get this going.

Cons: This is a huge commitment! 1,667 words a day is a tall order for me as I continue to work full-time, manage blogs, take care of home and family, and craft (I refuse to give up my handicraft time as it is therapeutic stress relief!). This year my day job is more overwhelming than usual as I am now teaching three Advance Placement level courses, one of which is new to me (and therefore requires significant out of classroom planning). I don’t know that there are enough hours in the day to pull this off! Never mind, that I’m still trying to find an agent for The Muse. Do I really want to start a sequel for a novel still sitting unpublished, much less unrepresented?

Possible Solution: NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. Maybe I can adjust the goal to meet my personal needs. Instead of 1,667 words, I can challenge myself to write 500 words a day. I may not end up with a completed novel, but I’d have a great start.

I still have a couple of weeks to decide exactly what challenge I’ll take on. However, if the day job gets any busier, I may have to let both challenges go. As hard as that is to do, I have my sanity to consider and I think my muse would agree!

Regardless, my usual writing practice will continue. Poetry and whatever my muse inspires will show up at least three times a week, right here! Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2016

 

Being Cool and Uncool

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I. cool

the elm tree shades
patches of grass
sipping lemonade

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II. uncool

left sitting alone
headlights pass by
stood up

 

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Image: Picnic Under the Trees – Julius LeBlanc Stewart, WikiArt.org

Words: haiku, senryu, c.b.w. 2016

Part of the 2016 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides on Writer’s Digest) for the April 19 prompt: cool/uncool

Birds

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I.
first light sets
jasmine blooms aglow
sparrows chatter

RISDM 34-489

Risd Museum

II.
an empty bird bath
chickadees sit
thirsty

III.
tiny peeps
sound from nests
hidden in trees

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Image: Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry – Katsushika Hokusai, Risd Museum

Words: haiku, c.b.w. 2016

Happy International Haiku Poetry Day!

Part of the 2016 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides on Writer’s Digest) for the April 17 prompt: haiku