Verse Novels: Who, What, How? Passing along an Interview with author Caroline Starr Rose

I am a fan of Caroline Starr Rose on many levels. My fan-girl status began when I read her books, in particular the verse-novel MAY B. Since reading that amazing historical novel, I’ve subscribed to her blog, followed her on social, media, and read her other books. I’d already been a fan of verse novels, but Caroline’s work inspired me to try my hand at writing in this form, and I’m actually making progress.

As when trying anything new, and even with established skills, I seek out ways to improve and deepen my understanding of the craft. In the case of writing verse novels I’ve attended workshops, participated in webinars, and read massive numbers of outstanding titles, many of them repeatedly.

Then I came across this wonderful interview of Caroline by blogger/author Gae Polisner. [link to Gae Polisner-] It was first posted on Gae’s Goodreads blog in 2012, the year May B. Was released. I somehow managed to miss it then, and throughout my pursuit of advice on the genre. I recently found it and read it, so I don’t want to let this same thing happen to anyone else with a similar interest.  Caroline’s insights about the craft of writing  (and revising) verse novels offer wise but user-friendly coaching tools that I will now refer to often. You can click to read the entertaining and informative post from Gae and Caroline for yourself.

I highly recommend that you do, even if you aren’t writing. There is sometimes a sense that verse novels are “lesser”, since there are fewer words and much more white space on the page. That’s the way verse works, after all, yet few would say that writing (good) poems is easier than writing prose. Take that same mindful and meaningful effort on poems to the next level by crating a cohesive and compelling story, and you’ll have a sense of the challenges involved in writing verse novels.

To accomplish that effectively without losing the heart, soul, and strength of a story is, to some extent, a gift. That’s the word I’ve often used when describing Caroline: she is gifted. This conversation between Gae and Caroline will enhance the reading of verse novels, too, allowing readers to recognize that even the most gifted writer works seriously, intentionally, and intensely at their craft.

That’s what I’ve been doing, and that’s what I admire about Caroline and other masters of the craft.

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