A definition is the beginning of knowledge. - Demosthenes.

For the correct definition of "story" go to www.write-better-fiction.com

The two most poorly defined concepts in literature are "Poetry" and "Story".

Which might have something to do with the fact that; millions of people spend countless hours trying to write poems and stories – and fail miserably.

Every year - 17.5 Million manuscripts are submitted, but only 175,000 books are published and only 17,000 manage to sell enough copies to cover the cost of publication.

Clearly, there are a lot of people trying to write, but only .0001% succeeds. That means that 999,999 fail for every 1 writer that succeeds. The odds are 1,000,000/1.

What's wrong with this picture?

Am I the only one that considers these odds unacceptable and an indication of a systemic problem?

Obviously something is broken.

If the technology of storytelling were adequately codified and being correctly taught... we would have a different picture.

What's broken is the technical know-how of storytelling.

While my website and this newsletter are not about poetry per se the subject must be addressed because obviously there is a great deal of confusion about the poetic and prosaic style of writing, and the relationship between "poems", and "stories".

However, you'll find no longwinded scholarly discussion here regarding this subject. I think they're quite foolish. I believe the subject is very simple.

I hold simply that:
  1. The purpose of writing is communication.
  2. The purpose of communication is to convey an idea or ideas about something.
  3. Stories and Essays are written forms based on structural conventions.
  4. Poetic and prosaic are stylistic conventions that are applied to those structural forms.

It's really just that simple. Anything else is added inapplicable significance that only serves to confuse the subject and therefore diminish ones ability to effectively communicate.

The link to a few of my poems is provided not because I consider myself a "great poet" but simply as examples of some of the different styles and subjects one can use in composing a "poem".

The following articles elaborate somewhat on the above subject of composing in a poetic or prosaic style as it relates to communication and to the writing of fiction and storytelling in general.

"Poetry and Prose"

This article explores the relationship between the poetic and prosaic and explains why there is so much confusion about the subject. Many people attempt to turn poetic style into a subject unto itself, when it is merely a "style" of written or oral communication.

"Writing Poetry"

This page contains additional information about the subject and its relationship to Prose and what they both have to do with storytelling.

"Types of Poetry"

This page contains links to an assortment of my work as examples of the many types of poems one might run across or wish to write. The variations are infinite because poetic writing and the resulting "poems" defines a quality of writing rather than a structure.


Fiction and nonfiction relate to Stories and Essays which are products of structural conventions not the style or quality of the writing.

Whether a written work is poetic or prosaic is a function of the quality of the writing not the form or structure.

Whether a written work is a Novel or Treatise is a function of the structure of how it's written not the quality of the writing.

Write on...

P.S. You can always write to Richard. Your Communication is welcome and appreciated.

© copyright 2010 - Richard A McCullough is the creator & editor of http://www.write-better-fiction.com the Fiction Writers source for Writing Better Fiction Faster and Selling More of What You Write. - Copyright: you may freely republish this article, provided the text, author credit, active links and this copyright notice remain intact.

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