As part of my celebrations for the release of my verse novel, Toppling, I have invited some of my friends – writers, poets, bloggers, teachers and more – to drop by during March. I will be asking each visitor the same question – what do you like about children’s poetry? – but am expecting some real variety in their answers.
So, without further ado, I’d like to welcome my first visitor for the month. Dee White is a wonderfully talented YA and children’s author. Thank you for dropping by Dee. Over to you:
THERE’S SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT VERSE NOVELS
Congratulations, Sally on your beautiful new novel, Toppling. It is such a moving book. I was reading it in the car park at school pick up and totally embarrassed myself by crying – luckily my car windows are tinted.
Thanks so much for inviting me here today – and what a wonderful topic to discuss – verse novels – a particular favourite of mine.
My first introduction to verse novels was through the work of bestselling YA author, Ellen Hopkins. Her novels, Burned, Impact and Crank, just to name a few, hook you right into the story from the first page.
I was lucky to meet Ellen and hear about her books at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. Inspired by her work I moved on to devour the wonderful writing of Australian authors, Sherryl Clark, Lorraine Marwood, Steven Herrick, Catherine Jinks and Margaret Wild.
There’s something about the rawness of verse novels that gets right to the heart of the emotions – it draws the reader straight into the main character’s world.
Verse writers have an amazing talent to tell us so much in so few words. They take the reader on an intimate journey, make you feel that you are there by special invitation – that it’s just you and the main character taking this path.
The power of verse is that it doesn’t have time or space for adverbs and adjectives. The reader has to visualise using his/her own imagination. They come to understand the main character’s world through the way that the main character acts and reacts to what’s happening around them/to them.
My current YA novel, Street Racer uses verse to establish a distinct voice between two characters. I have discovered that verse has more versatility than you think – and it gives your story pace, moving the reader along – not allowing them to become bogged down by excess detail.
A good verse novel is like an exquisitely decorated Christmas tree – balanced and striking with no excess baubles – beautifully simple.
Sally, your new novel, Toppling, is a perfect example of this. Right from the first page John’s character hooked me into his story.
The domino theme is so powerful in symbolising the precarious state of John’s world. The language is so simple yet tells us so much.
Works like Toppling are the very reason I love verse novels and poetry. Congratulations, Sally on your beautiful new book and thanks for inviting me to your place to talk about verse.
Dee White has a review of Toppling at her blog http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/
Thanks so much for your kind words, Dee, and for sharing with us today.