Verse novels can take so many forms. As a hybrid of narrative and poetry, there are all sorts of ways authors can structure a verse novel. After tackling three of them, I’ve discovered my own particular approaches and methods . . . for the moment, at least.
The three verse novels I’ve written (ORCHARDS, THE LANGUAGE INSIDE and another still in editing) have all been in free verse. All are constructed from chapters that function as long poems, which are broken into what I, for lack of a better term, call “sub-poems”—the poems on each page. The sub-poems are generally not stand-alone poems, they don’t get their own titles, and they require consideration within the context of the chapter and the larger story. I use these sub-poems to control page turns, so for me it’s critical to know far in advance how many lines per page I’ll be allotted when the book is printed and roughly how long a line can be. Each sub-poem should seem like a musical phrase within the arc of a chapter. And each sub-poem and each chapter must propel the story forward, for it is, after all, the poetry that serves the story.~ read more ~