Fiction and Poetry, the Story-tellers

Today we’re going to look at a fun writing exercise, drawing the lines from poetry to fiction and back again.  Every fictional piece tells us a story, as does every piece of poetry, even a perhaps less than high brow limerick.  To understand a piece, be it a work of fiction or a poem, we must see the story and be able to re-tell it.  This is an exercise I was taught for editing poetry, being able to re-write the piece differently.

Let’s start by looking at a few parallels.  Fiction and poetry are both boundless, they can take you anywhere, anytime.  Both tell a story, as does song, which is also telling a story with the use of rhyme and could be included in this exercise.  Think of any song you wish (assuming it has lyrics) and look for the story, fill in the details, have fun with it.  The same can be done with poetry.

Look at Edgar Allen Poe for example.  Nearly everyone knows his works.  Why?  Because they tell amazing stories.  When you read “The Raven” you aren’t listening to a man tell you a thing, you’ve been taken to a place, you are being wrapped in a story.

See if you can write a short fiction based on a song or a poem.  Then, if you still feel creative, try to write a song or a poem based on a work of fiction.  You may be surprised at how easily it comes once you begin.  Listen to the story being told, then write what you read/hear.  You may even understand the original piece far better afterward.  Best of luck, feel free to let me know how the exercise goes!


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