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Author: Subject: [Subforum: Young Adult] Really Wondering If This Would Be Too Cheesy??
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[*] posted on 6-24-2010 at 09:58 AM
Really Wondering If This Would Be Too Cheesy??


My FMC is a poet, and while the last thing I want to do is make this aspect of her character even more cheesy and cliche than it has to be, I'm toying with the idea of maybe putting some of the poems she writes in the novel. I don't want to flood the book with poems, but maybe a couple of them. (Word padding...;))

Would that be too cheesy, though? I need YA readers' opinions. Would that turn you off the story if I actually showed the poems my character wrote?




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[*] posted on 6-24-2010 at 10:22 AM


Normally, I think the poem would get skimmed over after the first few lines. But if you make it relevant to the story somehow, it would be very interesting.

1) Make the poems somehow foreshadow future events.
2) Make your character communicates better in verse, so instead of writing a note they writes a poem.
3) Make your character be affected by what they write.

Just some ideas. Hope it helps and good luck!

[Edited on 6-24-2010 by KathrineROID]




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[*] posted on 6-26-2010 at 08:01 PM


I think it'd be cool to add poems. Make them short. No one wants to read a ballad. They want to get right to the action. But while being short, make them powerful. Make it something that'll leave the reader feeling like they've been hit by a freight train.
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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 12:26 AM


I don't think that would be too cheesy at all. In fact, it would be good for character development. If writing poetry is a significant aspect of the character, then the reader should see her poetry because it will tell the reader more about her personality. Just make sure that the poems connect to the story somehow, that they're not too long or that there's too many of them, etc.
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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 04:50 AM


Not cheesy at all. :) I love it when authors put poems in books.



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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 09:33 AM


I don't think that I would say cheesy. I'm just afraid that if I was reading your book, I probably wouldn't really READ the poems, unless they were relevant in some way. But, I'm doing the same thing with song lyrics in one of my books, and I'm not sure that other people won't read, so go for it :]



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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 10:33 AM


It wouldn't be cheesy, but it would look bad if you had another character say the poem was amazing or something similar. It would seem kind of arrogant.

Honestly? If I was reading your book I'd most likely completely skip the poems. Other stories, books and poetry within a novel just feels so irrelevant. Goldstein's book in George Orwell's 1984 totally killed me.





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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 10:49 AM


By no means cheesy. Yet, I wouldnt read it if it was a ballad, or so.
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[*] posted on 6-27-2010 at 04:41 PM


Mmm...if you do it right. Some books I've seen manage to pull it off and others are just really bad. It depends on the quality of the poem and how many you put--not too many, maybe three or four at most. Not all readers will read them, because some people find them distracting (not me--I'm a bit of a purist when I read. I even read the acknowledgements and the copyright page, but that's just because I'm a dork), but if you do it right those you do will be glad you did--stuff like that can really help with character development.
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[*] posted on 6-28-2010 at 03:57 PM


I don't think it would be terribly cheesy... like someone said before me, in order for it not to be cheesy, I think the poems would have to be really powerful. Otherwise I think the poems would start to annoy me, but I do like the idea of it. :)
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[*] posted on 6-28-2010 at 06:23 PM


i think you should write some of her poems, + use that as part of your wordcount for the 1st draft. if it turns out that they don't really advance the story at all, then edit them out later, but doing that work can only increase your understanding of the character -- always a good thing.

if the poems are cheesy, it'll be cheesy, sure. but i've certainly seen this work -- off the top of my head i'm thinking of jean little's books about kate + emily (both young poets whose poems show up in the books -- plus she did a whole book just of kate's poems), + the play 'relatively harmless' by jenny munday.
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[*] posted on 6-29-2010 at 07:20 AM


I definitely think that adding her poems could add to the story, I don't think it would cheese it up at all. Like another user said, you could use them in a way to foreshadow conflict in the plot and the likes. That would be a pretty creative way to include some foreshadowing.
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[*] posted on 6-29-2010 at 11:13 PM


Have you thought about doing the entire novel in verse? Verse novels are supposed to be popular now because librarians think that they are easy to read because they contain fewer words. I think a really popular one is "i heart you you haunt me."

This might be really fun if you have two POV characters. You could have your poet character do her chapter in verse because that's how she thinks and you could have your other character do their chapter in normal prose. It would be a great way to establish voice.

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[*] posted on 6-30-2010 at 01:27 AM


Honestly, as a reader, I would want to have some poems in there. It's just how I am. I think it gives another dimension to the character and names her titles as a 'poet' more real. ^_^ If you really need word padding you could even have her quote a famous poem. Maybe while she gives advice to a character? haha.



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[*] posted on 7-2-2010 at 04:27 PM


It wouldn't make me not read the novel. If I were you, though, I'd use the poems to really let the reader get in the characters mind and see what it's like in there. That way it's not just word padding, but character development.



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[*] posted on 7-4-2010 at 09:20 AM


karen hesse knows her way around a verse novel. i definitely recommend checking out 'out of the dust' +/or 'witness' if you're considering going this route -- or even just implanting a couple of poems in what's otherwise a prose novel. she never stops being lyrical to move the plot forwards, and never stops moving the plot forwards just to be pretty.



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[*] posted on 7-4-2010 at 09:35 AM


I think I'd like short poems as chapter-headers. I've seen this done to good effect.



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[*] posted on 7-20-2010 at 02:52 PM


That would work. L.M. Montgomery did this in the Emily of New Moon books, and it was a very powerful storytelling device.





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