Wordle and Poetry

Two things today as I haven’t worked on my novel (yet). They are related to my novel.

So one is Wordle. What could this strange word and accompanying website have to say about MY writing process? One, it helped me take out my most over used word “started” by simply alerting me to its overuse. Here is a picture of Wordle’s for my first two posts:

So, what Wordle does is you either link your blog or paste your text. It does NOT save your text or publish it so it’s confidential. Now, to save a picture of it you have to take a screenshot then paste that (CTRL+V) into Paint and then crop it on up. BUT if you just want to check your word usage for editing purposes (for example, I might try to edit out the following words from my blog posts: also, going, really. I would chose those words because they’re weak words. Obviously scene and writing are good words for a blog about writing).

This helped because I used the word “started” like a crutch. Girl-hero started this, started that, started to, etc etc yada yada. If I didn’t correct this, it would get really annoying for the reader. I got this idea because I’m reading a series (great plot, poor character development) called “The Furies of Calderon” and every character frowns in every chapter at least once. THERE IS A LOT OF FROWNING IN EVERY SINGLE BOOK. Frowning. A lot of frowning. It’s a 3.5/5 for me (story is 5/5, characters 2.5/5, FROWNING -9001). SO the goal is to avoid angering your reader by overusing boring words. Don’t be surprised if your character’s names are the biggest words in the Wordle.

Now, onto poetry. DON’T STOP READING PROSE WRITERS! Yes, you DO write fiction. Yes, it IS a different genre. No, you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

I’ know lots of people that don’t like to cross genre. I’M A POET, they say. I WRITE NOVELS, they say. I WRITE SHORT STORIES, they say. That’s fine if you want to be stagnant. The truth is, there is a lot that other genres do for you. I recently met with someone at an OCWI meeting who said if he’s having trouble with a scene, he tries a different genre (like screenwriting) to do the scene and if it doesn’t work, there is something wrong with the scene.

SO back to poetry. I am in a graduate program for English Ed at the University of Oklahoma (no, please, don’t Boomer Sooner me) and one of my amazing professors likes us to write poetry because he himself is a poet and truth be told–you can’t teach writing if you can’t write and poetry can be a lot of fun. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can have a good time with poetry.

So here are two exercises I did today, the first is a simile/metaphor exercise and the second is an acrostic poem BUT WAIT there’s more! It includes art. Find some art, I really, really got into this woman’s work today: http://www.osnatfineart.com/. Try to find something you like, if not, Google “abstract art” or “art” and find something that pleases YOU.

Okay, so, this technique was designed by Kathleen Walsh-Piper and I’m taking it straight out of her book “Image to Word: Art and Creative Writing”

Writing a Poem: Metaphor and Simile (p 2)

  • First Line: give the painting a name
  • Second Line: write an action phrase based on what you see, such as “running down the lane” or “flying to the treetops”
  • Third Line: create a simile, a phrase using “like” for the painting
  • Fourth Line: give the painting another short name

I did a total of five, here is my favorite:

Osnat Tzadok’s “Wrinke in Time”

A mixture of light and space.
Breaking and swirling at an alarming pace
like birds racing to prey.
Space beginning to fray.

AND this is another of Walsh-Piper’s techniques:

Titles (p 86)

Give the painting a name. Make an acrostic poem from that name.

If you don’t know what an acrostic poem is… It’s hard to explain BUT if the title is POEM it’ll look like this:

Pineapple is a prickly fruit

Orange is a round fruit

Envelope is not a fruit at all

Milk is tasty

Got it? I suck at this but anyway, here’s what I did:

Osnat Tzadok’s “The Other Side of the Moon”

Sea Meets Earth

Saffron earth rises up
Edging ever nearer to the sea
And in a fury clashes

Marrying the blue waves
Eating up the salt
Eating up the wet
Tasting sweet, sweet victory
Savoring the long lasting moment

Embers of anger burn
And the sea strikes back
Returning its pain
To the swollen earth
Helping once more to keep the balance

Okay guys, I’m going to stop talking so you can stop reading and try these things out. Let me know what you think!

8 thoughts on “Wordle and Poetry

    1. melanie_unabridged Post author

      Poetry is many, many things, not just a weird artform that’s confusing and hard to understand. You used poetry in your prophecy so working on it would really help with things like that. It also helps voice, tone, word choice, and sound. It doesn’t have to be great, you don’t have to like everything you write, but if you don’t explore it, you are shortchanging yourself. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Revision and Critique Group Tips « Becoming Author

  2. AK

    Wordle is not only useful for figuring out overused words – it also helps me figure out themes that I didn’t know were there (that I can expand upon later!)

      1. AK

        “Salvaged” had a lot of blood and body part imagery, a physicality I hadn’t expected or intended. I was able to make it juicier once it was called to my attention.

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