It’s HAIKU time!
Now, you wonder, why on earth would I say that? Because, as a writer, there is no better way to hone your craft, especially if you want your narrative strong, tight, and not superfluous.
A Haiku, for those of you who don’t know, is a Japanese form of poetry. It has seventeen syllables and three verses, and it is supposed to convey the essence of the thought, as well as the image.
Many people say it is simple, even simplistic… but it isn’t. Try to imagine a place and write about it in shorthand form. It makes you think. It discards easy words for tighter verbs and nouns. Writing a Haiku is hard work, but the form can also be a bonus for your narrative. Usually, writers can be…well…wordy. 🙂 We love words, one of the reasons we are authors. But writers new to the craft go overboard — they believe that telling everything is the way to go on the narrative. What they don’t realize is that there are selections of words out there that can actually replace phrases. Even sentences.
So, a Haiku will help sharpen, not only the focus of your writing, but also the word selection process.
Here is an exercise you can do:
First: imagine a place
Second: write 15 words that describe that place. Find strong words that create an image.
Third: write a Haiku poem using the words (obviously you won’t use all of them)
Brick and steel canyons
Steam, asphalt, bumping masses
Noise and heat around glass
My words were: brick, steam, asphalt, glass, canyons, bumping, claustrophobic, masses, heat, rushing, noise, deafening, cacophony, steel
Now, what can you come up with?