Poetry, Plays, Prose, Pictures, & More – Teens Can Write, Too! March 2015 Blog Chain

tcwt-3[1]It’s time for another TCWT post! This month’s prompt is:

“What are your thoughts on reading or writing books in non-novel formats? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed?”

I’m going to make a list, because lists are A) fun and B) easy. (See what I did there? Another list. I’m sorry, I’ll get on with the prompt now…)

the maleficent seven1. Short stories, anthologies, and novellas

NOW THIS IS MY “THING.” I mean, I do write other forms of stories, but short stories are my preferred type. Honestly, I lose track of the plot (and some of my characters, usually) whenever I attempt to write something longer. And I get distracted.

But short stories? They’re perfect. Their length makes them fun yet challenging, because a good short story needs to go through all the stages that a novel does – rising action, climax, et cetera – but in a much, much shorter time.

As for the short stories / anthologies / novellas that I’ve enjoyed… well, there have been many. MANY MANY MANY. Some of my favorites include Am I Blue? by Marion Dane Bauer, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Maleficent Seven and “Across a Dark Plain” by Derek Landy, and Past Perfect, Present Tense by Richard Peck.

2. Serialized novels

My brother and I read one of these for school not too long ago, actually – Stephen King’s The Green Mile. Basically, each installment was published separately and people read them as they were released. (There were six total in this particular story.) Dickens used to write this way, and it seems that serialized novels are slowly gaining popularity once again.

It’s a neat format for telling stories, but I can’t honestly say I’d try it. It’s not currently on my list of “writing projects I would like to try someday,” that’s all I can say.

3. Epistolary novelsScrewtape-Letters

AKA novels told through a series of documents. These are SO COOL! I love seeing how all the different – and sometimes contradicting – sources come together to form a story. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Carrie by Stephen King, and Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary are some of my favorite epistolary novels.

I’ve experimented with short stories told in this format, and would eventually like to attempt at least one full-length novel in the epistolary style.

4. Novels told in verse

Otherwise known as poetic novels. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse is an example of one that I enjoyed, but there have been plenty that I didn’t like: Basically, I would usually much rather read shorter, individual, unlinked poems. I don’t know why. I guess… I guess that when it comes to poetry, I prefer something short and sweet. Also, I’ve read far too many poetic novels that just ended up sounding really, really pretentious because

the author


everything like


Because they thought it looked


5. Nonfiction

I always feel that I don’t read as much nonfiction as I should, but my Goodreads account says that I read nineteen nonfiction books last year, so I guess I’m doing OK on that front after all. I especially love nonfiction books about history, although I’ve also enjoyed a few books about science and whatnot.

I’d like to write a few of my own someday, I think. It’ll take one heck of a lot of research, but that’s OK. I think I’d like to write about WWII, women’s history, or some aspect of queer history. Or some combination of all three, maybe – Danny @ The Meeping Koala and I were discussing “old-timey queer stuff” yesterday in the context of relationships on Marvel’s new show Agent Carter and AAAAAH IT IS SO COOL.

drama6. Graphic novels and comic books

Of course I have to include these! I LOVE graphic novels and comic books – I read eighty-five last year. I definitely want to write some of my own some day, although I’d have to find someone else to illustrate because I can only draw stick figures. I love the nonstop actions, frequent flashbacks, and creative panel arrangement in such stories.

If you’d like recommendations, let me know in the comments: I’m not going to list any here because I probably wouldn’t be able to stop and then this post would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

7. Combinations of prose and pictures

I haven’t stumbled across too many of these, but the ones I’ve found so far were AMAZING: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and Chris Wooding’s Malice Havoc duology. Basically, as long as I can get someone else to do the illustrations, I’m totally down for writing this kind of novel.

8. Plays

I have great respect for people who can write good plays. Shakespeare, for instance. I, on the other hand, tried writing a script once, way back in the spring of 2012. It was terrible. I don’t even want to talk about it.

9. MoviesSTRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 ON WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER, 2013 GMTDoctor Who – 50th Anniversary Special - The Day of the Doctor

Sometimes I daydream of having one of my books A) published and then B) adapted into a
screenplay and turned into a movie. I’d be very fussy about the movie, though, and would want to be EXTREMELY involved in its adaptation, casting, production, design, et cetera. I’d want to help write the screenplay, basically. I think I’d do a better job with this than with a play, because I’d be using a pre-existing story.

10. Television

I think I’d like to write for TV someday; it’s basically an onscreen version of a short story, isn’t it? A few years ago I didn’t think one could learn anything about writing from TV shows but I’ve since changed my tune: They ended up teaching me a lot about pacing. I’d love to write for Doctor Who someday, but I doubt that’ll actually happen.


What are your favorite non-novel books/stories, or your favorite novels told in unusual formats?

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:






















27th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for April’s chain!)

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Teens Can Write Too!, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Poetry, Plays, Prose, Pictures, & More – Teens Can Write, Too! March 2015 Blog Chain

  1. moosha23 says:

    Ah. There’s so many different types of stories! (I for one am in love with the format of plays. I think plays are gorgeous!). I also do like stories told through verse (it’s like Shakespeare but less magnificent), maybe because there’s more word economy. So, for the most part, you get only the words that convey the message in the best way possible, in the most impactful way (it’s also the reason why I love poetry in general).

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, have you tried writing any plays? 🙂
      *nodnod* That’s what I like about short poems. I’m always amazed by how much meaning such a little poem can hold! But… I don’t know, very few novels-told-in-verse have appealed to me so far.

  2. Heather says:

    Graphic novels, movies, TV—you’ve won me over, for sure. I don’t know if I could write them, but I know I do love them, for various reasons. It’s fascinating to see the ways that different formats work, especially for different peoples. What have been some of your favorite graphic novels, by the way? I’m kind of getting back into them and I might shop around.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m so glad I branched out from normal novels and started trying other types of stories. 🙂 It’s been sooooo worth it!

      Oh, wow. Um. That’s a tough question, haha. Because I have SO MANY favorites. But here are a few:
      AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang
      THE UNDERTAKING OF LILY CHEN by Danica Novgorodoff
      PERSEPOLIS (both volumes) by Marjane Satrapi
      MAUS (both volumes) by Art Spiegelman
      V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
      YOUNG AVENGERS (series) by Kieron Gillen
      BOXERS and SAINTS by Gene Luen Yang (basically anything by Yang, tbh)
      CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER by Ed Brubaker (all of Brubaker’s CA stuff I’ve read has been amazing, tbqh)

      Hopefully that’s enough to get you started! 🙂 Happy reading!

  3. John Hansen says:

    “old-timey queer stuff” Idk what this means exactly, but it is absolutely necessary and henceforth the greatest thing ever. (Seriously, though. How cool would it be to read, like, a non-fiction YA about a historical queer boy/girl/etc?)

    And I love books in epistolary format. Authors are coming up with cooler and cooler twists on that, too, which is awesome. Like there was a YA mystery written in the style of a longform piece of investigative journalism, with interview clips and everything (called the Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), and there is a sci-fi novel told through classified documents (Illuminae) coming soon.

    • nevillegirl says:

      “Old-timey queer stuff” is exactly what it sounds like – queer people being awesome in Ye Olden Times. 🙂 In the case of Agent Carter, this means making eyes at cute girls and having the first same-sex kiss in the MCU, evidently. ❤ ❤ ❤ (As well as some other Things but I won’t mention those because spoilers.) Seriously, like 60% of the show is Peggy Carter kicking people in the face and the other 40% is flirty scenes with a waitress. It's awesome, I need to find the photo set of those two making cute faces at one another because it is gr9.
      (I would LOVE to read a book like that. The only one I currently know of is The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and that's *extremely* recent historical fiction, 80s/90s. Almost contemporary, really.)

      Epistolary novels are the BEST. ❤ I'll add The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone to my TBR list! Thanks for the rec. 🙂 And Illuminae sounds awesome, too. Have you ever read Operation Red Jericho? I haven't yet, but it looks really good and it's YA historical fiction/ action & adventure told in an epistolary format.

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