Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #11 - Breaking the Rules

The Moon as seen from the International Space Station,
hanging over the limb of the Earth.  Not your standard
view of the Moon - this image evokes something new.
A common bit of advice in writing is "Learn the Rules, Break the Rules."  Something very fresh can happen when we seem to be following along a known path, and then go somewhere unexpected.  So what are some of the "rules" of poetry, if there is such a thing?  Here are a few you may have heard:
  • Don't write cliches.  Cliched poems include poetry about the Moon, your dog, and your breakup.
  • Don't use epigraphs.  These are those bits of quotes or song lyrics at the top of your writing showing your inspiration source. 
  • Don't use a word in all capitals.  This is SHOUTING in your poem.
  • Don't write "doggerel" forms like Limericks or "Greeting Card" verse.
  • Don't break classic forms.  For example, don't change the standard rhyme scheme of a sonnet.
  • Always be honest.  The standard wisdom is that the truth resonates with the reader.
Prompt #11:  Write a poem that breaks a "rule" of poetry writing.  Use an epigraph, write a Limerick, or tell a lie.  Why did you choose to break this particular "rule?"  It what way does breaking this rule give you as the writer some additional freedom?  It what ways does breaking the rule impose new limits?  As you craft your poem, look for ways to use this broken rule to bring something unexpected and new into the work.

There is no "For something more specific ..." today!  Just go and break rules.

Of course I'll be breaking the rules with some aspect of sci-fi, horror, or fantasy.  Maybe it is time for yet another poem about the Moon ...

Did you use this or one of our other prompts?  You can post your poem in our comments, if you like.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credits: Moon, NASA

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