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Book Writing Tip: Get Moving!

Juxtaposition. One of my poet friends tells me it's her favorite word. I must admit, it's one of mine, too. Not just because the word is fun on the tongue, but for what it means. My faithful Merriam-Webster defines it as "the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side." And in literary terms that can be words, scenes, character, chapters, events, etc. placed side by side.

Currently, I'm finishing up my poetry collection, and, as you can see by the photo, my wall is filled with poems, which I keep moving around. Each poem moved impacts the poems around it, the rhythm of the book, the meaning of the following poems, and the power of the entire collection. Poets are fanatical about juxtaposition, but prose writers are, as well. In the many revises of the last few chapters of my novel, I cut apart all of my scenes (even some paragraphs) and switched them around to see how the reorganization affected the meaning and movement of the story. I recommend this technique for organizing books and, at the very least, as an exploration of your creative process. Last reco du jour: use masking tape.

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