The first word of advice I was given about writing stories in verse was that you can’t just break a short story into lines and call it “verse.”
This is true.
It’s also not.
Because ultimately, that’s what I did with Muted.
Muted was a normal short story to begin with. It was first published in an anthology called From Stage Door Shadows. But I wanted to publish it as a stand-alone piece, too. Mainly because I loved the story and thought it deserved a piece of the limelight.
I did want it to be a little more innovative though, as I’m the type of writer who likes to push boundaries and not conform. The story itself is quite unique, so I wanted to highlight this by making the format unique too. Also, the subject matter is horrific. And I didn’t want it to just be “a horrific story.” I wanted it to be beautiful, too. So turning it into verse created a great juxtaposition.
By writing Muted in verse, I was able to accent the emotion via clever line breaks, a bit of internal rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia and unusual formatting. Things that would normally bog a traditional short story down, if done in excess. But in verse? It works. And I believe gives the story an even stronger emotional pull.
But I didn’t just insert line breaks into the prose. After doing this, I had to reevaluate the story as a whole new piece of work. I tweaked a lot of lines to create double meanings in the line breaks, added new elements to the story, amped up the emotion with the poetic devices I mentioned above, and made sure the rhythm of each line flowed naturally, steadily, and rolled off the tongue.
Have you ever written a short story in verse? How did you go about it?
About MutedWhat if it were illegal to wear clothes?
What if it were the law to wear a temperature-controlled body suit made of fetus membrane ... every day?
What if you were a singer, and it was illegal to sing?
What if you sang anyway, and got detained by a LEO, and punished by having your vocal chords violently slashed, and eardrums perforated?
What if multiple offenders were killed for their skin?
Would you commit suicide? Drown yourself in the river?
But something stops her in her tracks ...
Purchase muted: a short story in verse
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Ca
About JessicaThe Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.
She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.
Connect with Jessica online:
website | retreat & workshop | blog | Vine Leaves Journal | Facebook | Twitter
CLICK HERE to subscribe to Jessica’s newsletter. Every subscriber will receive The Hum of Sin Against Skin for free, and be the first to know about new releases and special subscriber giveaways.