Thursday, April 14, 2022

Writing a verse novel

isn’t as hard as you may think.

As long as you know


you want to write about

and why 

you want to write about it in verse,

the former slightly easier

than the latter.

Verse is best suited for 

stories that are

written in first person,

have a strong character arc,

lots of emotion,

and a lyrical voice.

   Verse lets you 

zoom in

to details,

to feelings,

to moods

     when you’re telling your story,


every single word


or even

  every single

  l     e   t   t   e   r.

Verse also lets you 

play around with 



         and format

in case you hadn’t figured 

that one out yet!

Like when your MC is sad,

you can say 

My world came crashing





as I watched my plans turn into rubble

and when they’re happy,

you can say that

My spirits







with a single smile from her.

The beauty of verse storytelling

is that no two verse novels are alike

because there are 

fewer rules 

and more


I think they call it

poetic license.

Of course, 

I didn’t know any of this

till I wrote my first verse novel.

But looks like I got something right

because it’s going to be…


And I know this is 

as cliched as it gets,

but some cliches ring true,

“If I can do it, so can you”.

So, write that verse!

Hope I’ve made you want to.

(Ha! Rhyme!)

Thushanthi Ponweera is an author and poet from Sri Lanka. Her debut middle-grade verse novel I am Kavi is forthcoming from Holiday House in 2023. She is a former We Need Diverse Books mentee and a blogger for the same organization. Her writing reflects the frustration she feels at the inequality and injustice she sees around her, and also the deep love she feels for her island home. You can find her on Twitter @thushponweera and on Instagram as @bythush.

1 comment:

C. Sheer said...

Well done, Thushanthi! Congratulations on your soon-to-be-launched debut MG NIV! I totally 'get' everything you cover in this blog post and am currently querying my own MG debut NIV (which NESCBWI chose for recognition last month, presenting me with the 2022 Mirrors and Windows Writing Award.)