10 steps to writing a good poem
10 steps my fiction writing professor said would lead to a good story
1. no screaming. no crying. no dying.
2. chekhov was right when he said,
to move your reader, be colder.
this should be easy for you since she left a couple of blank spaces behind in your room
that you haven't gotten around to returning yet
and don't know how to disguise
so you sleep in the library most nights.
after all, cold is only the absence of heat
3. details are not embellishment for your story; they are your story.
4. don't write victims for characters
make them active in their own undoing
the audience should understand the methods by which the protagonist will destroy herself and identify her murder weapon in the first scene. the audience should understand that she never saw it coming.
5. no one has a monopoly on truth; that is, even you can write poetry
6a. the only way to fail is to not write
6b. so you write and still wonder if you haven't succeeded
6c. and you forget what you were trying to do in the first place
7. establish stakes: the protagonist must be motivated by either her greatest dread or greatest desire
you can get away with doing both if you write about being surrounded by the people you love
the people you love are explaining why they could never possibly love you back
the people you love are stripping you down to your bones
your skull can't stop smiling
8. sometimes, the curtains are blue
most of the time, this doesn't symbolize anything
9. demonstrate causality;
even if the protagonist has cancer
and manic pixie dream girl disorder
and stockholm syndrome
this does not explain why she is the chosen one
and will only succeed in making her stuck-up
10. avoid neatness
everyone wants a happily ever after
but stories are the questions you ask
after you turn the last page and say,