What I’ve Learned from Writing THE ARCHIVES

This past September, I was working as a temporary receptionist in a real estate office and got an idea – why not try writing a novel in verse? Ellen Hopkins does it all the time – and quite skillfully. Why not take a leaf out of her book?

The next day, I started on THE ARCHIVES, in which a lonely girl (who is something of a kleptomaniac) tells the story of her high school and her sudden ascent into popularity. I wanted to make it something I could easily update every day, so I decided that each chapter should be a 100-word poem.

Because this “novella” is purely experimental, I don’t have any intention of formally publishing it. I’ve been posting it on my FictionPress page chapter by chapter. I’m surprised that it’s gotten so many good reviews and that readers are enjoying it. They’re invested in the characters and they’re involved in the story.

Writing in verse (and serially) has taught me a few things:

1. You can say a lot in just 100 words.
2. Every word counts – don’t waste them!
3. It’s important to look back at past chapters to see if any loose ends need tying up.
4. Readers bring a ton of insight into characters and story.
5. The sound of the words is as important as the meaning of the words.

I’m planning to wrap THE ARCHIVES up in September of this year, so I’ll end up with 365 chapters. Maybe after that, I’ll try a new experiment!

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned from Writing THE ARCHIVES

  1. Wow! Sounds awesome, Maggie.

    I did a Daily Haiku every day for a year. Even 17 syllables can say bunches. Glad that you’re getting some positive feedback on the challenge.

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