Perfection: Poems vs. Stories

Here’s something to think a bit about.

The words of your poems are perfect before you physically write them; those of your stories are perfected after they’ve been written.

Yes, I came up with that… haha.

But, seriously, think about it.

When you decide to sit down and write a poem (or rather don’t decide to but let your brain force you into doing so), you always have to make sure your words are really perfect… usually before you even write them down. Like, in your head.

When you gotta push those late nights to churn out the next ten pages of your soon to be debut hit novel, though… you don’t think much about the words before you write them. You just… well, write them. And then editing comes later.

Of course, there’s some editing to always be done with poetry, too, but… poems are a lot shorter than most stories, and that makes the editing process a lot different. You might begin to write down one word, then erase it, then write a new one in its place… and make sure you get the right (or just about the right) wording in the first line before moving onto the next. And then repeat the process with that second line and so on and so forth.

The whole idea I’m basically trying to get at there is that poetry kind of gets you to edit as you go. You might still do some write-ups after it’s all been written and drafted, too, but… it makes your job a lot easier if you edit while you’re chugging along.

Though, maybe that’s just how my poetry writing process is. If you don’t resonate a bit with that… then just ignore me. Above all, remember… you do you!

So… that’s what I wanted to discuss today. My thoughts on how poetry is all about the wording and stories are… well, they kind of aren’t. Poems are shorter, therefore you have to think harder about making it sound perfect with the limited lines you have, and stories and novels and word documents have all the space in the world available for you to work with, so condensing and perfecting your words isn’t so much a requirement.

…Make sense?

So, maybe this all just how my mind works, but I’d still like to hear what all the rest of y’all have to say. Are your writing processes similar or different than mine? Especially if you have experience with both poems and longer works… let me know how you do it!

Leave me a comment!


7 thoughts on “Perfection: Poems vs. Stories

  1. Dominic Sceski

    I have this tendency to turn my nose up when someone uses a quote that they came up with…but you’re so right!!! I like your example of staying up late, writing the next ten pages of your book: there are times when I’m really not thinking about what I’m saying, and the words are just flowing. It’s in these moments that I feel so powerful, as if my imagination is expressing itself on its own, and everything is “meant to be”. I love those moments, and while editing is sometimes required, the emotion that gets poured into the book during those moments is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, those are the best of writing times! Especially when you get so involved that you just go and go and go and lose track of time… and you know you’re really in the zone when you actually miss a meal or something, haha. Thanks for reading! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m more of a novel than a short story person, and definitely more of a short story than a poem person! My only experience with writing poems are those prophecy thingies in fantasy novels… and I’ve often flipped at how hard it is to make things rhyme. 😅

    I agree poems definitely have an edit-as-you-go process; like, it’s impossible to proceed until we get that perfect line to rhyme with the previous! Short stories are also that way, especially those with low word count limits (like 15-word or 100-word stories). That’s why I prefer writing novels; my words flow better without any limitation, especially when I lock my inner editor in the closet. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yeah, I didn’t even think about those short SHORT short stories! Those are a lot like poems, the words have to be just right in order to get that perfect point across. And I have to agree, though I’ve been dabbing into poetry a lot lately… novels and longer stories will always be my top go-to. Thanks for the read and the comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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