On Editing a Novel #7
TURNING YOUR NOVEL INTO A BOOK OF POETRY. It's likely that you've come to the conclusion that your novel just isn't working out. If that's the case, it's time to take the necessary steps to exploit the lucrative and rewarding world of poetry. Many of your smarter friends' favorite books of poetry are actually novels converted into verse. For example, everything Robert Creeley wrote was originally intended to be about globe-trotting mercenaries. When he just couldn't make his technothrillers set in a erotic hellscapes work, he'd delete words until he passed out drunk. This is called poetry.
Let's take a look at how his unpublished novel South American Murder Trail became the poem "America" through the deletion of a few choice words:
"It's not South America! It's a code for subverting reality!" ->
"Give back the people you took!" ->
"We can't let the son kill her! Shine light in his eyes! Well, do it again." ->
"I've killed children on all the four corners of the world." ->
"You thought of it first, but do not be so sure we won't discover the Camarillo Axiom." ->
We're on our own. Or are we? Let's keep quiet like the mutes even if it's an inconvenience." ->
"People are your own responsibility. You gave your word, Mendoza! You did!" ->
"There's not a weapon invented that can kill locusts. And it's a problem. What kind of problem? Long-term." ->
"The crystal is here you said? And, say, is that voodoo?" ->
"Where we are, no ones going to give love back. Probably." ->
"What was that? Guerillas or gorillas? We are screwed. So are these people. Your travel agent made a big mistake." ->
"I believe in us. And there's nowhere for me but where you are...um...to be. I could have said that better." ->
Through careful deletion, you too can be Poet Laureate.
If it doesn't work out, skip ahead to #22 TURNING YOUR BOOK OF POETRY BACK INTO A NOVEL BY ADDING ADVERBS & SUPER VILLIANS.