Line Breaks

Today’s exercise is a simple one, but can be highly rewarding. The directions work well for either poetry or prose -LIMITLESS!

Directions:

  • Write or take an older poem and type it out in a block, no line breaks, so that it reads like prose.
  • If you are a prose writer, take a block of text (or write one) make sure that all the dialogue remains blocked in one large paragraph.
  • Without thinking to much, start from the beginning and hit the enter key at any point you want.
  • Make some lines long, some short -vary it.
  • If you see a compound word, hit the enter key.
  • Even if a word is not compound and you want to break it up, do it.
  • Now, re-read your text. Make sure to pause appropriately at the line breaks or any mid line punctuation.

By doing this exercise, I’ve noticed that certain tones become the center of the now-poem, sometimes a different tone than the one intended or previously attached to it. The point is that oftentimes by doing this, things in the text are revealed, words that were lost within the prose find a meaningful presence and you discover more about what you have already written.

Besides the discovery, this exercise frees writers who are often nervous about changing the text. It’s an exercise in opening up to editing your own work. You are able to see alternatives and may end up liking that alternative better.

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