Monday, July 9, 2012
Answering the question: why not in verse?
Some readers haven't wanted to know - why? Why isn't this one written in a similar style to my other young adult novels?
Before I answer that question, a little backstory.
I've written four novels in verse:
I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME
FAR FROM YOU
THE DAY BEFORE
(these are all stand-alone novels, by the way)
If you've read one or two of my books and were hoping for more, I hope you'll check out the other ones already published. If you can't find them on the bookstore shelves, you can always ask them to order for you.
With each of those books, the verse helped to create an atmosphere that I couldn't get with regular prose.
When I wrote my first YA novel, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, I feel like the verse chose me rather than me choosing the verse. That's the way the story wanted to be told. I tried to fight it, honestly, because I was so scared of doing something different. But it was useless - the story poured out of me in verse and I finally decided to go with it and see what happened. And now, I'm so glad I did!
FALLING FOR YOU has a lot going on, and is told in kind of an unconventional way. That is, most of the story is told in flashbacks, alternating with brief segments of present day every once in a while. I think it can be really tricky, and maybe even off-putting to a reader, to do more than one unconventional thing in a novel. Even doing one unconventional thing is risky! Now that I've done this for a while, I am all about taking risks and trying new things. That's how we grow and improve as authors, I think. And if the risk works and works well, the payoff can be huge. But we also have to keep our readers in mind and understand that if we go too far with the risk-taking, they may not want to follow along.
Because I am playing with the timeline a bit, and doing something different there, I'm afraid trying to also write the story in verse would have just been too much. That is, too much for me as a writer, but even more importantly, too much for you as a reader.
I still worked hard to make the story accessible and appealing to reluctant readers. The chapters are fairly short and my editor had the brilliant idea to incorporate some poetry into the story as well. So, my readers who have read every single book and are dying for more verse will get a little bit in this book as well.
The thing is, not every idea is going to work in verse. I happen to have had four ideas in a row that worked in verse. This time, the story of a girl who works in a flower shop and has something terrible happen to her wanted, needed I would probably argue, to be told in a different way. As an author, it's my job to put my needs/wants aside and do what is best for the story.
I hope when you read the book, you find it a suspenseful, surprising, and emotional read - like I've tried to do with all of my YA novels.
That's my ultimate goal, and what I want to give you, every time, regardless of how the story is told.