Shelly Lowenkopf advises: Poetry is an important force in narrative. Writers of fiction are well advised to read poetry for cadence, concision, and the power poetry has to draw readers in. But you need to remember another important dynamic in fiction. Story rules. When style and voice ride over story, the reader comes away more bewildered and dazzled than stunned with involvement. Instead of thinking about the number of poetic beats in a line, allow the dramatic beats to come forth instead. Read Sherman Alexie’s remarkable poem, “The Elephant,” wherein you will see that this writer has not forgotten his heritage as a storyteller. Now, go you, and try to do likewise.
Fiction Writer Who Insists on Cadence in her Writing
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