Thursday, April 26, 2012

10 Tips from a Famous Author, Part 2

Today, I'd like you to meet Tiffany Streilitz Haber. Tiffany is a poet and also the author of several rhyming books. THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN will be out soon:

And another rhyming picture book, OLLIE AND CLAIRE, will be released in 2013.

Tiffany has stopped by to give you more tips for writing poetry. A round of applause for today's generous author, please?

Take it away, Tiffany...


  1. Keep a notebook on you at all times. 
When an idea pops into your head…jot it down immediately!  It could be anything from a character name, to an idea for a title, to an entire concept from start to finish.  Your notebook will become the breeding ground for a zillion poems and stories.  Don’t leave home without it!

  1. Read random things. 
You’ll be surprised at the new directions your own writing can take you  when you are inspired by styles outside of your immediate comfort zone.   Ask a few people you don’t know very well to tell you *their* favorite poem, and then go check it out.  Discover what you’ve been missing!

  1. Variety is the spice of life!
Scan through your poem, and make sure you haven’t used an adjective more than once.  If you have…cross it out/erase it/hit delete.  Every word counts.  Words should earn their way into your work.

  1. Read your work out loud.  
We read our own work so many times *to ourselves*, but it’s just as important to read it OUT LOUD.  You may stumble on something when you are speaking- that you glide over when you are just saying it in your mind.  Give it a try and see for yourself!

  1. Have a friend read it out loud TO you.  Aka: (A great way to uncover hidden problems).
I am calling this one: Tip #5, but it’s also pretty much, Tip #4a. :-D
Whether in your mind or out loud, at the end of the day- it’s still YOU reading YOUR work.  And we can’t help but read it the way we want it to be read. But it’s critical to find out how it will be read by someone seeing it for the very first time.  So have a friend read your poem TO you, and see how it sounds.

  1. Walk away.
All done?  I don’t think so.  Just when you think you’ve got a finished product…the real fun begins.  Sticking your poem in a dark drawer (no peeking) for at least one full week can uncover issues you had no idea were brewing.   When you finally return to your work, it’s like you have super powers.  Suddenly you can see everything so clearly!  What works.  What doesn’t.  Try it!  It’s an invaluable experiment.

  1. Speaking of experiments…..Experiment!  
Don’t get stuck writing about the same subject over and over again.  Here’s a little challenge: Open a dictionary to a random page, and write a 12 line poem using the 4th word on that page.  Whatever it may be!  This sort of exercise keeps your brain working and flexes new writing muscles for you.  I think you’ll be amazed at what you come up with!

  1. Be concise. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”  Dr. Seuss
‘Nuff said.  Warning: harder than it may seem. 

  1. Write what you love.

10.     Love what you write.

Great advice, Tiffany. THANK YOU!

P.S. Tiffany can be reached in a variety of ways:

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