My favorite part of writing verse novels—and maybe writing in general—is image construction. I am a lateral thinker and, for me, there is no greater sense of joy than when an image flies into my brain connecting two seemingly disconnected things. In my upcoming verse novel, SKYSCRAPING, I used celestial imagery throughout the book to convey the main character’s own existential crisis, he own search for meaning in a world that suddenly feels vastly confusing. I tried hard when writing this book, not to just think about a singular image working alone on the page, but how the main character’s experience with the sky would change as she did. I believe an image standing alone is often not as strong as an image system that evolves, gathering meaning over the course of a narrative. This is the way the “prose” part of a verse novel gifts the “poetry” part of the story.
As a creative writing teacher, when I teach imagery construction is verse novels I focus on Thanhha Lai’s middle grade Newbery Honor book, INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN. The imagery in this book is simple—it is written from a fourth grader’s perspective. But it is powerful in its simplicity: The image of the papaya fruit changes in the meaning as the main character herself changes. For instance, when Hà still lives in Vietnam and her innocence is intact, the papaya fruit is a beacon of hope for the future:~ read more ~