I know that headline got your attention! But what I’m about to talk about has nothing to do with plagiarism – it’s really just recycling your own writing. You know, the stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor.
Now that the first book in my series, Truth, Lies and Love in Advertising, Camera Ready is out, I am busy putting the finishing touches on the sequel. You can find Camera Ready on all channels, including Books & Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. by visiting the home page of this website.
I Needed Something to Complete a Scene
I was writing a scene in the soon-to-be released For Position Only, involving Craig Keller and his mother, Julia. I drew the character of Julia to be a published poet and the scene involved a poem she wrote for her son during a particularly tumultuous time in his life.
Where to Find the Right Poem?
My only challenge was writing the actual poem, knowing I could not publish the works of someone else. I thought back to a collection of poetry I had written as an English major in college. This period of my life was heavily devoted to poetry as a genre. I had taken dozens of classes in which we studied poetry through the ages.
Contemporary American Poetry, 1945-present was my absolute favorite class. We studied the Beat generation, including Allen Ginsberg. We also read W.S. Merwin, Marge Piercy, Robert Lowell, and Rita Dove, who had once taught at ASU before moving on to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
I Dug Through my own Collection of Poetry
I found a poem which fit perfectly into my scene and particularly the situation that Craig had encountered. And there it was. I attributed the poem to my character Julia Keller, and she read it aloud to her son in a poignant mother-son moment:
The wind glides its hands over you as if to say,
‘You are not at fault; you are not to blame.
The clouds were only joking last night when they
showered you with tears and told you it was okay to melt.
I howled and transformed you into a fierce, red-eyed swan
Who sailed out into the night,
A frantic cavalier, who dared stretch his neck above the stars.
What did you see there?
Did you notice the gods shaking their fists in glorious victory?
Or did you get lost in the sweltering caves?
The darkness you fear despises your willful ways,
But cannot escape the chains of light surrounding it.
So, do not be frightened; come out again.
The sun needs you and the trees want you here.
Look! The flower with the shock of red petals
saw you last night and still holds out her generous hand.
She knows you have ceased to breathe.
She knows you have lived and died.
She knows you have broken into shards of green light
And she still has not said a word.
Open Your Writing Closet!
Yes, this is another fashion reference! If you’re a writer, I know you have a writing closet. It’s that place in your computer where you never know what you might find. I urge most authors to open those pieces of writing that never made it to your finished work. You should re-examine and determine where you might be able to use it. It’s not just about poems. I’ve found snippets of scenes, pieces of dialogue, descriptions that worked well when incorporating them into a new #WIP. It could come from a full-length manuscript, a short story or a poem.
If you’re part of the #ReadingCommunity and you miss Sex and the City or Mad Men, get a hold of Camera Ready. And if you’ve already read Camera Ready, you won’t want to miss the sequel – scheduled for release in early December!
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