When I was in high school, I took a class called Poetry/Mythology. The class name is pretty self-explanatory. We studied mythology and poetry. The poetry part is what stuck in my mind and to this day I read any poem I come across out loud, trying to find the rhythm and the flow.
You know what? A lot of poems don’t have rhythm. They’re free verse and, quite honestly, they drive me crazy. I like consistent numbers of syllables in each line, I like rhyming. I like all the different types of poems, so long as they have a set structure.
Believe it or not, this relates to Quest for Salvation. In a couple of places I have those bard-like poems that are almost always found in fantasy novels. (Stay tuned for my next post – once again a discussion of the fantasy genre.) I like the poems. I like the rhythm. I worked really hard to get them just right. And then one of my beta readers told me to change one of them because they didn’t like the number of syllables I chose.
Yep, I was rather upset. To my merit, I refrained from sending an angry email. I simply didn’t ever mention it. I have a few points here. 1) Writing is subjective. No matter what, not everyone will love the stories we create or the words we use. I constantly find myself rephrasing sentences from other books the way I prefer them. 2) Poetry is even more subjective. What sounds good to me may annoy someone else. I hate free verse, others love it. 3) We don’t always have to listen to our beta readers. Sometimes they nit pick. Sometimes they aren’t paying very much attention. Sometimes we pick readers that just don’t care. We learn from these things, sure, but I have learned to have more faith in myself – not that my beta readers can fix everything.
Take care, fellow travelers.