Monday, 4 June 2018

How I wrote a poem for Visual Verse, and my other writing adventures

I finally, truly understood what 'sod's law' means and had to rip up my drafts and rewrite both 'The Promise' and 'Wolf's Father' (which are Parts Two and Three of 'The Norse Myth Soap Opera Trilogy') after finding more sources of Norse myth which I hadn't known about. The good news is that I now have some new drafts, and the interesting news (as I don't think it's bad news) is that these drafts actually resemble my original ideas but with bonus material, and I found this hilarious after realising that I should have listened to my gut and stuck with my very first drafts all along.

And in other news, I accidentally stumbled across an online magazine called 'Visual Verse' while skimming through random Twitter feeds for jokes to cheer myself up for not listening to myself  (please don't ask me how Twitter works; I haven't the foggiest). Essentially, the editors of Visual Verse (@visual_verse) will unveil an unnamed picture (the artist is mentioned, however) each month on Twitter and invite people to submit a piece of writing between 50 to 500 words long in response to the picture. Submission is free, and I believe you can submit more than one piece. The catch? The piece must be written within an hour of seeing the picture.

This is a different game to hashtagging, and I was so intrigued that I had to give it a go, but was nearly stumped by the picture they posted for May (if you're interested, it's called 'The Child's Bath' by Mary Cassatt), but I overcame a moment of doubt I had that I could write something longer than 50 words in the time needed, and set off on my new writing adventure.

My efforts are in the photo below (spoiler: I got published :-)! By someone else who wasn't me :-)! Click this link to read my piece!); there are many other replies from others who also found inspiration, and it's fascinating to see so many different, individual responses to the same picture: 

I started by asking who the woman and little girl could be, and how they were feeling or thinking at that precise moment which was captured in the picture. In the end, I chose to write something from the little girl's viewpoint because although it was possible that the woman wasn't her mother, the little girl trusts and treasures her immensely, and I reckoned that at that age, and given the time in history this took place (ie, judging from the clothes, this would be the late 19th century or early 20th century), that particular little girl in the picture sees the woman as a maternal figure without really knowing what a mother is, or indeed if the woman is her mother or not. I didn't have much time left, and hurriedly scribbled the first line down, and decided to turn it into a rhyming poem. Everything else followed on from there, and by the time my hour was up, I had something. As it's free to submit, I thought, 'why not?' and sent my work in. The only problem was that I only had time for a first draft, and the lesson I am taking away from is that if I do choose for my future pieces to follow certain rules, I would need to write shorter pieces which I could then polish, and not to submit a first draft.

As it's the start of June, a new picture should now be up on Visual Verse, and I'm going to have a go at that if I can find the time this week, as the deadline for submissions is mid-June. Till then, watch this space!