Thursday, September 20, 2018

Capitalization in Poetry

It's a big question in poetry--do you capitalize the beginning of every line in your poetry, or do you keep everything lowercase?



Really there isn't a solid answer to this. It mostly comes down to the poet's personal preference. For me it has always been capitalizing each line of poetry. I don't know if it's just what I'm used to when I'm typing (I tend to not capitalize each line when I write it by hand) or if it is because I'm heavily influenced by a more traditional style.

My thoughts are starting to change on this idea for two reasons. First, as I research lit magazines and journals, what is getting published most often are pieces that don't look or feel in any way like traditional poetry, including no capitalization and shorter lines. The second reason is that as I work on my poetry project, quite a few of my pieces look off when every line is capitalized. Once I switched it to lowercase, it looked much better. I still have the tendency to capitalize the first line, but that seems a lot less distracting than having every line do the same thing.

What are your thoughts on poetry capitalization? Does it matter, or is the choice to capitalize or not capitalize important to the poem's message?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sub Season

Most literary publications close for submissions sometime between the middle of September and the end of October for winter/spring issues. Since I'm in the thick of submission season right now, I'm trying to figure out how to package submissions so that they stand out. Because of guidelines provided by these publications, this mostly comes down to packaging the required number of poems and putting them in the right order.



Publications that are looking for poetry in particular usually have a 3-5 poem limit per submission. This gives you room to provide your different voices and techniques, but I'm beginning to think that it's also a place for a poet's potential downfall. My evidence for this is the last few rejections I've received. These were encouraging rejections, which meant there was something in there that they liked. Many of these submissions had at least one poem in common, so maybe that one is the one that impresses? This leads me to a question that probably only a poetry editor can really answer: if you like only one out of three (or five), do you still reject the submission, or do you offer to publish one and not the others?

The answer to this question could lead me to change my submission tactics. If my worst poem in the submission is keeping my best from getting published, I would definitely stop sending in the maximum amount according to guidelines. However, years ago I was reading something somewhere online (I know--totally trustworthy source, right?) where editors preferred more than one piece to really get the feel of the writer's ability. So, there's that.

This isn't the only area of a submission that could be the issue. It could be that my submissions doesn't have a cohesive theme, or that it does have a theme, and they aren't interested in that. It could be because of length--every type of writing can get canned based solely on length, so that doesn't bother me at all. Though if length is a specific issue, it should be placed in the guidelines not to send work over a certain number of lines.

I'm simply looking to find ways to make each submission count. Everything is on the table at this point as I assemble my next round of submissions. How do you approach your submissions to publications?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Busy Buzz

It's been a busy week, as most holiday weeks have become for me. But I know that I'll be craving all of this busy buzz when the mid-November slump comes along. I'm happy that I still have so much to do this late in the year.



A few more rejection slips have come in, but they seem to be the ones that are more promising: either the rejection compliments the quality of the writing or anticipates future submissions. Realistically it can still be the standard form letter rejections from these publications. But I've gotten many, many rejections before. Compliments and urging future submissions are not always included. I just have to keep working to find the best publication for each piece. That may not be easy for my short story. I think it's giving off one vibe, but my intention was something else entirely.

The poetry project is still chugging away. The funny thing about it is that I've noticed the quality change just from the time that I started with the first piece to the ones that I've written in the past couple of days. The first piece was going to be previewed on Patreon tomorrow, but I now hate that first piece and need to give it a total rewrite. I will still post an excerpt from the collection, but it won't be the title poem. Make sure to sign up for my Patreon page so you can get the first look at it!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Projects with Abandonment Issues

I've been immersed in my latest poetry project over the past couple of week. It's fun, it's challenging, and I'm finding constant inspiration. That's good, right? Because I'm trying to reign it in when I can, knowing poetry is low on the totem pole of professional success stories. Like a good investor, I need a diverse portfolio of work to make sure that success has a long-term reach. And that thought leads me to all of that other stuff I started working on and have yet to finish. Right now, I want to take time to acknowledge all of the projects I've put on hold.



Love Bites the Big Apple: My first foray into a story for the Episode app is still on my mind, it just hasn't been updated for awhile. I promise that when I get back to it, I'll do a major multi-chapter drop.

Completed first drafts such as Verses and Vows, In Another Life, 277 Miles: Hang in there, kids. We'll meet again--hopefully soon!

Numerous incomplete first drafts: I admire the dedication of these stories. They always come back to my mind in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Usually right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, but what can you do?

And I can't forget the two other projects sharing my non-freelance time: Honorable mentions go to the draft of my current YA novel and to Pieces, which may have to take a short hiatus in a few weeks due to lack of new pieces to post.

Hopefully all of my projects with abandonment issues will come back to me at the right time to be completed. As always, you can be a part of the action: don't forget to join my journey on Patreon to get more details about my latest poetry project, exclusives, and much more.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

News and Notes from the Writing Desk: August Edition


The Poetry Project

It terms of getting this project written, I'm on a roll. I have about half of my ideas fleshed out into full drafts, and plenty more ideas to fill in the rest of the pages. The sticking point on this one is the cover. I've tried working with multiple versions, and I still don't think I have it right. I'm going to post all of the versions I have (so far) on Patreon tomorrow so I can get some opinions on where I should go from here.

That YA Novel...

I've got a few pages down. I'm still feeling really protective over the title, so I haven't released it yet, and probably won't until I get the cover designed. I'm also having a hard time remembering what I learned in sociology, which is a big player in the story, so I'm going to have to refresh myself on what that's all about.

The Scriptwriting Itch is Back

The more I try to concentrate on just two projects until I see them through to the end, the more my brain wants to keep going back to other projects that are little more than a few scribbled notes. As much as I try to convince myself I need to stick to what I know and what is more likely to sell, I keep getting the itch to go back to scripts. I can't seem to ignore it this time. I keep thinking about two projects I have some notes for, but haven't actually started writing the script. One is a feature length, one is a thirty-minute pilot. Both topics are timely and a bit provocative, so I probably should work on them before it's too late to have the biggest potential impact. Then again, I'll probably get two pages in and talk myself out of it. I know there are avenues to getting these projects from start to finish, but it would be a bumpy road.