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#WW How To Be The Perfect Writer

7 Oct

The other day, I went to pick up my father at the airport. Knowing it might be a long wait, I decided to listen to NPR, a favorite station of mine. The theme of the day was creativity, and considering how suiting it was, I knew I would love it no matter what, but much to my writer’s delight, the main speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, blew me away.

Sir Ken Robinson actually is a “sir,” knighted by the queen herself due to his contributions in the arts in general and in regards to education. To this day, he’s even the most popular TED talk out there. Naturally, I felt compelled by him, but one quote said during the discussion has not left me, nor do I believe it ever will.

“Practice doesn’t make us perfect, but it helps you realize you don’t have to be.”

The phrase stuck me when he said it, and the phrase strikes me now as I type it out, really feeling the words for what they are. Let them sit with you for a moment if you will.

We, for most of our lives, are pounded with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” We are told failure is more or less the worst thing that can happen to you, and if you fail, it is 100% your fault and something to feel shame from. The concept “practice makes perfect” is disheartening, and at its core, it prevents us from taking risks, from reattempting, and mainly, from growing. Now, I’m not saying that practice isn’t great. Of course it is great. But weighing “practice” against “perfect” is where we go wrong.

No one is perfect. I would have to bet J.K. Rowling even finds spelling errors in her work, especially after sending it off to her editor, but I doubt she tells herself she’ll never try to write again because she forgot the “t” in “the” and Microsoft didn’t catch it because “he” is also a word.

See? Even programs aren’t perfect—and they’re literally designed to be.


A part of art is failure, because a part of the soul is failure.

We seek out imperfections in heroes and heroines because they are flawed just like we are. It is what makes them human, and it also why we find ourselves able to love them.

Practice is vital, continuing to hone your art is necessary, and striving for better is always the ultimate goal. But do not allow yourself to be discouraged by imperfections. Find the beauty in them. Overcome the ones you can. Strive forward knowing you’ve grown from them. And realize, none of us our perfect. I mean…none of us are perfect. ;)

The “perfect” writer is not perfect at all.

And now…a video from Sir Ken Robinson. (It’s his original TED talk that became very popular, and it’s about the education system, so it’s not necessarily about the topic I discussed above, but I thought you all might like to listen to it, since I just talked about him.)


Help me out and vote for Minutes Before Sunset on Dalitopia Media for a chance to win a free book trailer. All you have to do is click this Facebook link and “like” the photo on Facebook. Any and all “likes” are appreciated. :)

I still have 1 Halloween-themed box set of The Timely Death Trilogy available. Each box set includes 3 signed books, a signed bookmark, a bat or spider ring, and a personalized note from me. They cost $40.00 with free shipping in the U.S. Email me at if you’re interested.


Also this October, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases on October 19! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

bixserMinutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#MondayBlogs Finding Your Author’s Voice

5 Oct


Voice. A singular word that makes most writers cringe, especially if you’re just starting out. But it doesn’t have to! Finding your “voice” can be a fun adventure, and today, author Ryan Attard, is discussing the ever-dreaded topic most avoid.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Finding your Author’s Voice by Ryan Attard

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you would have come across the concept of an author’s voice – one of the most confusing concepts out there in terms of writer’s education. We hear it all the time, whether we are writing a book, talking about one, or even writing those dreaded query letters; readers, writers and agents alike are all seeking voice.

But what the hell is this thing?

Your voice is your identity as a writer; it’s what makes your words yours (barring some long and boring copyright agreement that I will not include here, because I’d like everyone to read this without feeling like they have to drive a long rush nail into their cerebral cortex afterwards).

Your voice is who you are; what makes you choose what words to write; or what drives you to write them in the first place. But without going all Flower Power, let’s talk about this from a technical perspective.

When you read an author, if they have found their voice, you will find yourself inevitably either loving or hating that author. There is very little middle ground here, simply because now you know what that author is all about. You know where they’re going to go, even if they get better – and that either jives with you or it doesn’t. This is what differs a pro writer from someone who’s just starting out. The reason why established authors tend to sell a bajillion copies of their work is because we as readers identify with that story – or rather the voice of that author in telling the story.

I know… no one said this was easy to wrap your head around.

Think of J.K. Rowling for example. Yeah, Harry Potter is a great story, and it’s got its ups and down, but the reason fans still go gaga over it years after the last book (and movie) ended is because of Rowling’s voice. We can all sit down and write the exact same story, with the exact same characters and mechanics (but no Time-turner cos that’s bullshit!) and we’d all end up with a slightly different story – better or worse. A more recent example is Patrick Rothfuss: story-wise there is little to engage us in his series. On face value it’s about a guy telling us about his past in a school. So why does it have raving fans (guilty as charged) clamoring for the third book, like a riot happening outside of Conan Doyle’s house when he literally threw Sherlock of a cliff? (okay, technically it was a waterfall, but that really doesn’t have the same punch does it?)

The point is, a massive success goes beyond the perfect plot. It takes an author who really knows themselves and who really knows not only what they are writing about but also who are they writing for, as well as why; all in addition to a great story.

Better yet, that great story has to fit your author’s voice. This is a rookie mistake (one that I am guilty of) – we see something on TV, or read something awesome, and be like “Hey, I can do that!”

No, you can’t. Or rather, you can, but expect it to go down the crapper at around page 17. Sure if you want to steal an idea, or a setting, or a trope, it’s all fair game. ‘Talent borrows, Genius steals,’ as Oscar Wilde said.

But whatever you do make sure it all fits with YOU – as an artist, as a creator. It’s common when starting out have an inconsistent voice. Think of it in this way: when we are children we hear all sorts of phrases and inflections and whatnot, and we simply imitate. And the only way we have of sifting through this chaos is by doing it even more, eventually eliminating what sounds unnatural to us.


This is why most writers tell you to “keep writing” – this is why we have that 10,000 hours rule of thumb. The more you write, the more familiar you get with your author’s voice… or voices, cos there is no rule that say you can’t have multiple voices (cue Prozac joke here), just as there is no rule that says you can only write in one genre.

So how can you find your author’s voice? Well, you can write, write and then write some more… but there is a way to shortcut it – if you think about it.

Yeah, that’s the trick… think about it. Simply reread some of your stuff, analyze what you’re doing, and pick what sounds most natural. It takes time, sure, but more importantly it takes dedication and the willingness to go through with your crazy ideas (some of which you really need to write down).

And once you find your voice, you’re golden. Because whether you are writing the next bestseller, a query letter, or even a tweet, you will have identified yourself through your writing. I’ll end with this quote from Youtuber and fellow author Garrett Robinson (whose video inspired me to write this post. Highly recommend you checking it out here) who said:

“An author’s voice, once perfected, is more unique to them that their fingerprints.”

May you go forth and write according to the voices in your head,

Ryan Attard


Ryan Attard is the author of the Legacy series, The Pandora Chronicles and, as of recently, Evil Plan Inc. When not tormenting his protagonists or ruling over his imaginary worlds, Ryan can be found within the confines of his house on an island far, far away, either geeking out about the latest book or manga chapter he read, or a television show he just finished watching.

He can also be found spewing his opinions and telling terrible jokes on his weekly podcast, The Lurking Voice podcast, which can be found through his website (although if you are easily offended you should definitely not listen).

He is also the kind of person who writes about himself in the third person.




Join the Mailing List and get an exclusive free copy of the Legacy Short Story Collection – 1 novella, 6 short stories and 50K+ words of pure awesome.  Sign up now!

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in November, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at


Website Wonders

28 Sep

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of September’s Website Wonders categorized into Reading and Writing and Publishing. (Nothing crazy this month, but these articles are AWESOME.)

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.


Writing and Publishing:

Why Are Readers Punishing Authors for Free Books? By Nerd Girl  I loved this. As a book reviewer myself, I’ve been startled to see the increase in comments about free books being “evil” in its intent.

Can a Novelist Be Too Productive?: “No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.”

Top 3 Reasons Censoring Your Writing is Holding You Back: There will be cursing today. Run away if that bothers you. I don’t mind.



A Literary Landscape of Ireland: This was sent to me by the creator, but it’s seriously cool.

20 Soul-Stirring Passages From Shinji Moon’s Poetry That Are Hauntingly Beautiful “You were the one that I wanted to feel the earth rotate with.”

A List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read and fun checkmark list with it.

Tattoos only a book nerd could love: They are lovely.

And that’s all for September! More to come at the end of October. Next post is September’s Ketchup. See you then. :)


After Minutes Before Sunset #12 in Overall Free Kindle, Seconds Before Sunrise hit the top 100 for Paranormal & Urban fantasy.


Thank you for reading!


On October 19, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.

It will be tons of fun!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#SATurday Three-Year Blogging Anniversary

26 Sep

So, wow. Yesterday was my three-year anniversary of blogging right here on

Three years.

The first photo I ever shared of myself on here with a similar one from today.

The first photo I ever shared of myself on here with a similar one from today.

My first blog post was on September 25, 2012. I never realized how much my life would change once I started this blog. For instance, back then, I had just started my last year of college at the University of Kansas. I lived in a townhouse with two other girls, and my bedroom was painted a deep merlot red. Bogart was almost two years old. I wasn’t publishing at that time, but I was studying English, specifically poetry. I didn’t have a job that year, but I did have my eyes set on a couple of master’s degree opportunities and law school. I drove a manual, a silver RX-8. I was writing Take Me Tomorrow. I almost always wrote in a hookah house. My laptop’s name was Weebo. I was twenty-one years, three months, and two days old.

Since September 25, 2012, my life has changed irrevocably. Two weeks after starting my blog, one of my college roommates passed away. I moved back home. I was published. I graduated from KU with a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis on creative writing. I was published again, and signed on with a publisher. I started working for a publisher. My car stopped working. My publisher shut down, and I lost my job. I moved to another state on my own. My bedroom is now baby blue, and I drive an automatic pickup now. I signed on with a new publisher, and I started my own company. Bogart just turned five, and I have two other cats in my life, Boo Boo and Kiki. I write in coffee houses now. My laptop’s name is Luna-P. I’m currently writing many things. I am twenty-four years, three months, and three days old.

Back then, I just wanted to have a place to share books, music, and movies. I never knew it would change my life forevthree yearser. I cannot explain how much blogging can change your life, but I guess I can share my story.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to say today, but I don’t feel like
there’s anything I can say to express my gratitude for these past 525 blog posts. Today is my 526th article. I’ve been on here 1,096 days. I’ve had over 72,000 unique visitors. I never thought my silly voice would ever be heard, let alone by that many people. I am humbled.

Thank you for giving me a place in the blogosphere that I can call home.


Minutes Before Sunset hit #12 in overall Free Kindle yesterday! (Woot. Woot.) We were also a #1 Bestseller in YA Science Fiction and Paranormal and Urban Fantasy! Way to go! Stay Dark!


#12 in overall Kindle!

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingOn October 19, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

P.S. For all you Timely Death Trilogy fans, here’s a little Dark humor from comedian, Drew Ryan.


#MondayBlogs Cartoons Make You a Better Writer

21 Sep


I love cartoons, and I love comic books and manga, and I’m very open about my love for these things. That being said, cartoons and comic books and manga are often depicted as things for children…something I obviously disagree with. J There are many reasons to love cartoons, and today, author Grant Goodman gives us yet another reason to love them. It helps with your writing.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Cartoons Make You a Better Writer by Grant Goodman

When I sat down to write the first Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve novel, what really drove me was my love of cartoons. I wanted to create—in written form—the cartoon series I always wanted to see.

I grew up with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was glued to the sofa when they stormed the Technodrome to fight Shredder or when they teamed up with Casey Jones. Each episode had cool fight scenes, a sci-fi invention, and at least one funny line from Michelangelo. The turtles were my first obsession and they propelled me to join a martial arts school when I was in elementary school.


My elementary school mornings and weekends were filled with Tom and Jerry Kids, Inspector Gadget, X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman: The Animated Series. While most of them were in short story format, the X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman series began to introduce me to the idea that 30 minute cartoons could build a larger story. Spiderman had “The Alien Costume” arc, which gave Venom’s origin story over the course of three episodes. But that wasn’t quite enough. I wanted a longer storyline.

The first episode of Dragonball Z aired when I was in 6th grade and when I saw it, my head nearly exploded. A series in which nearly every episode built off of the last. A cast of characters who did martial arts AND threw fireballs. An entire universe of heroes and villains, legends and lore.

DBZ led me into the wide, wild catalog of Japanese animation that revealed an entire cultural art form that offered a great deal of respect to storytelling in animated form. I watched Vash the Stampede try everything he could do to avoid taking lives in Trigun, I saw Miyazaki’s phenomenal Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and I was completely swept away by Fullmetal Alchemist.

All of it—every episode of every series I ever watched—has somehow contributed to my abilities as a writer, and it will for you, too. You learn how to plot an action scene that matters, because you see plenty of them that don’t. You learn how to keep two characters pining for each other in order to build tension between them. You learn the importance of a cliffhanger to keep your audience hooked.

Most importantly, however, watching cartoons will teach you how to keep your imagination active, because without a strong imagination, you’re going to write something boring.

If you’re aspiring to write a MG or YA sci-fi/fantasy action series, my best advice to you is to watch cartoons. Lots of them. Go watch the first season of The Legend of Korra for a masterclass in serious-but-not-pitch-black YA storytelling. Seek out Samurai Jack for how to do fight scenes that flow.

This may be the only time anyone in your life tells you this: stop reading for a bit and start watching!

Grant GoodmanBio:

Grant Goodman is the author of the Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve novels, a series for readers anywhere between 9 and 900 years old. His YA lit blog, November Notebook, is for teens, adults, ghosts, robots, unicorns, dragons, and aliens. He teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in November, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at


#SATurday Book Releases explained by Sailor Moon

19 Sep

I love blogging. I love writing articles. I especially love writing articles that readers suggest. That being said, today’s article was inspired by reader, ‪Angela Dellisola‪. Her comment came on the release day of Death Before Daylight…after I made an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate. I posted it on my Facebook page, but here was the initial comment: “Congrats! You must be beyond excited! Tired too, maybe, but a good tired…with all the back to back releases? I’d love to read a blog post on your author’s mind right now. J”

First of all, a GIANT thank you goes out to every reader, blogger, follower, writer, and supporter who shared the release. I hope you all are enjoying the finale as well!

But, yes, Angela isn’t wrong. I am exhausted. Beyond exhausted. (Hence all the coffee I was brewing and all the sugar I was baking.) I am thrilled Clean Teen Publishing agreed to release The Timely Death Trilogy back to back like they did, but there was a lot that had to be done to make that happen. Blog posts, guest posts, interviews, teasers, Facebook covers, newsletters, etc., etc. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve left my laptop at all. Even Luna-P is exhausted. (That is my laptop’s name in case you were wondering.)

These moments are rather funny in regards to an author’s life, so I thought I’d explain my time through gifs. Even better, since my laptop endured so much abuse these past three months—and since my laptop is named Luna-P after Luna-P in Sailor Moon—I’m telling my story through Sailor Moon gifs.

This summer and fall, I had three book releases back to back. It was AWESOME, but definitely a lot to keep up with. There’s a lot to do, so you’re always on your laptop. That’s when someone suggests you take a break. You know, go outside. Enjoy the nice weather…

You’re too busy collecting a team anyway. You get your readers, fans, bloggers, and fellow writers together…because it’s time.


But don’t forget the business side of things either. Swag, prizes, booths, etc.

(All worth it too! Which, by the way, I’m going to Penned Con next year in September of 2016!)


So, the book releases and you’re so excited!

And you’re exhausted too. So you sometimes forget silly things….when people are speaking to you.


So you eat. Eating always helps.

giphy-13 That’s when someone congratulates you or posts a review or a number of other wonderful things. It means so much to you.

You actually blush.

You’re kind of glad this wasn’t in public.

Your face looks like a tomato.


And sometimes people say mean things or try to bring you down.

(Crying to your cat helps. This is a fact.)


But that’s what food is for. And friendship. And baths. 

(I made cookies.) 


So, when all the craziness is done and over, you know you had a fun time with readers, writers, and fellow book lovers.


In the end, that’s just how it’s done, and you enjoy it to the end of the world—the good, the bad, the awkward moments and cat-cuddled moments, the emails, the interviews, and the missing reviews. The broken links, the extra posts, the phone calls and texts. The tweets and WordPress friends and loving bookends. The prize giveaways, the winners, the ones who will stick around for a chance to win again. The ones who were always around and still around, and the news faces that have blended in. The newsletter crew, the street team view, and the fellow authors I’ve called friends. A group of people, all together, for one release moment, and you wish it never came to an end.

The book release is a book release, but it’s so much more than that.

It’s a celebration, a moment to be with all my Internet family and friends.


Now for my little Dark announcements.

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingAll three books in The Timely Death Trilogy are now available! The first book is even up for free. For those of you waiting for the paperback of Death Before Daylight, don’t panic! It releases on October 19. Speaking of October 19, you can expect my newsletter to go out then and from now on every month on the 19th.

On October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

Last but not least, the Seconds Before Sunrise tour is coming to an end, but here are all the lovely posts you should check out!

Guest post – Not Just Another Romance – on Mythical Books.

Interview with Kelly P’s Blog.

Spotlight on Dowie’s Place and Forget the Housework, I’m Reading

Seconds Before Sunrise Reviews on Black Words-White PagesEndless Reading, and Young Adult Book Madness!

Death Before Daylight Reviews on The Examiner and Tamara Morning.

Stay Dark,


#MondayBlogs: The Prose Poem

14 Sep


Poetry is important to me. When readers ask about my background in writing, they are almost always curious about my education regarding writing. More often than not, readers aren’t surprised to hear I studied creative writing in college, but they are surprised when I clarify I spent most of my time studying poetry. In fact, my poetry professor was one of the most influential people on my life and writing. So, when poet Ann Howells queried me about the importance of the prose poem, I was estatic to share her piece today.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

The Prose Poem by Ann Howells

As a form, the prose poem tests boundaries. It upsets award givers: a singing pig or tap dancing chicken. It defies categories and exists for those fascinated by enigmas. When poetry subverts its dependence on the line of verse for identity it opens new possibilities. Once the amazement of even having a prose poem is past, the poem can be appreciated for its uniqueness and the way in it combines suggestiveness and completeness.

History—Prose poems go back to poetry’s beginnings. Neither the ancient Greeks nor the Anglo-Saxons required line breaks, nor did Old Testament parables which concentrated imagery, symbol and allusion much more than prose. Early traces also appear in the Chinese Fu form, a prose form that includes rhythm and meter. In Fu, word association allows the writer to leap from one word to another, referred to as riding on dragons. This same associative leap is common in prose poems. The poet explores an experience through metaphor, through multiple levels of consciousness, leaping from conscious to unconscious and maintaining a sense of surprise.

The modern day prose poetry began with Symbolists in France and Belgium in the 19th century. The first were by Baudelaire, who praised it, saying, a miracle of poetic prose, musical, without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience. These prose poems are rich in suggestion and metaphor and tend to have strong lyrical qualities. Other French Symbolists who wrote in his form include Rimbaud, Mallarme, and Valery. From there the prose poem spread in all directions through all major languages of the planet.

It was slowest to catch on in the United States where the first prose poems were journal entries of Hawthorne and Thoreau and newspaper articles by Whitman (under a pseudonym) for the New York Leader (early 1860s). Later, his Specimen Days, built on those articles, became the first book of prose poems published in America. He called for poets to break down the barriers of form between poetry and prose. Few listened.

William Carlos Williams claimed that, while blank verse and free verse were perfect vehicles for English voices with different tones and patterns of stressed syllables, the rhythm and intonations of prose poems were in tune with speech patterns of everyday Americans—a vehicle made for their voices. And, in the first decades of the 20th century, a bunch of little journals began to publish prose poems. (One of these was Poetry.) Yet, critics were hostile. After the publication of Russell Edson’s The Very Thing That Happens in 1964, small journals again began publishing a few prose poems. Robert Alexander (a well-known contemporary prose poet) compares the controversy over the prose poem to the controversy over free verse at the turn of the century. Free verse has dominated for years in this country (though not necessarily elsewhere). It marginalizes the prose poem, as well as formal forms like sonnets and villanelles, even though many, including editors, still think it an inferior prose with no place at all among poetry. The proponents are the poets themselves. Even then, consider the brouhaha surrounding the Pulitzer Prize (1990) given to The World Doesn’t End, a book of prose poems by Charles Simic. It drew an avalanche of protest from poets and reviewers.

What exactly is a prose poem?— Prose poems (sometimes incorrectly called proems, which is not a literary term) are poetry contained in a prose format that utilizes all the devices of poetry except the line break. While the distinction between verse (a poem containing regular meter and formal attributes) and prose is clear, that between poetry (a highly organized, artistic genre that produces a discrete object d’art) and prose is obscure.

Prose poetry can be divided roughly, by subject, into seven categories:

  • The object poem—about an ordinary object seen in a new way—like a mop or a shoe. These poems are usually quite short. See “Shoes” by Warren Lang.
  • The surreal narrative—popular in the 1960s, these often presented a metaphysical conceit, yoking together unexpected elements. They have a dream-like quality. Read Russell Edson’s work; you’ll either love or hate it.  Or see “Un Bruit Qui Court” by Maureen Gibbon.
  • The straight narrative—different than prose in that they emphasize feeling rather than plot. See “Translations” by Michael Carey.
  • The character poem—fleeting impressions rather than fleshed-out descriptions. See “How Grandma and Grandpa Met” by Michael Carey.
  • The landscape or place poem—often arising from journal entries or letters. They tend to be more impression than physical description. See “Icebergs” by Roger K. Blakely.
  • The meditative poem—self-descriptive, but tending to be metaphysical and abstract. See “My Name” by Jack Minezeski.
  • The hyperbolic poem—consists almost entirely of verbal play. See “The Voyage of Self-Discovery” by Michael Benedikt.

Some volumes of prose poetry contain mainly poems written in prose style with regular punctuation and capitalization. Some have paragraphs to parallel the verse structure of lineated poetry, some are written as a single paragraph or verse with regular punctuation and capitalization and some as a single paragraph without any punctuation or capitalization. Some poets have pushed this even further by beginning the poem and sometimes ending it in the middle of a sentence. One rule of poetry has always been, begin in the middle, though perhaps not so conspicuously. It simply means to begin at the heart and eliminate introductory lines giving background or setting up the situation. This is even more so with prose poetry which captures a moment, facet or fleeting emotion. Also, without punctuation, one word can modify the meaning of both the phrase preceding it and the one following it. It works much the same as judicious line breaks which leave a word that belongs with the thought in the following line at the end of the previous line to color its meaning also.

What some poets have to say about Prose Poems:

It explores the ways a story and a poem can spring from the same source. An open and associative form to reach half buried thoughts. (Mark Vinz)

A poem is language presented as an art object—meant to be viewed as a work of art. Prose says: ‘Come listen. I alone have survived to tell this tale.’ But a poem entices us. ‘Come listen. No one else can tell this tale as artfully as I.’ (Robert Alexander)

Prose poems distill and mimic prose. They offer ‘life histories reduced to paragraphs, essays the size of postcards, novels in nutshells, maps on postage stamps, mind-bending laundry lists, theologies scribbled on napkins.’ (David Young)

While poetic prose may use some rhetorical and poetic devices and elements of aesthetic texture (sound, rhythm, imagery, etc.), it does not do so as consistently or as intensely as the prose poem because it is intended to be prose. The prose poem depends upon all the devices of poetry except line break, with no single element being essential. It uses heightened language; metaphorical expression; musical form; structural repetitiveness; prosodic features like meter, alliteration, etc.; and brevity. It has a great deal of internal movement in the rhythm and syntax that replaces the tension otherwise created by contrived line endings, (though in a prose poem the phrase is the smallest unit of rhythm, rather than the syllable or foot of lined poetry). Prose poems often give more significance to the final lines than other poems, which helps add closure. Sometimes merely that can turn a journal entry into a prose poem, i.e. an observation followed by a line or two that adds universality. Voice dominates. Prose poems are trickier to bring off successfully than lineated poems.


Ann-Richardson 2007Ann Howells’s poetry appears in Borderlands, Concho River Review, Crannog (Ire), RiverSedge, Rockhurst Review, San Pedro River Review and Spillway among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited Illya’s Honey Literary Journal, since 1999, recently taking it digital ( and taking on a co-editor with whom she alternates issues. Her chapbooks are, Black Crow in Flight, (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2007) and the Rosebud Diaries (Willet Press, 2012). She has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and been four times nominated for a Pushcart, twice in 2014.

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