Ever think about writing a novel in verse? Take the course by Cathy Ostlere (week two)


High Velocity Verse Workshop

So you want to hear

the whole story.  Why

I swerved

off the high road,

hard left to nowhere,


indifferent to those 

coughing  my dust,

picked up speed

no limits, no top end,

just a high velocity rush

to madness.

The above lines are from the amazing book, Crank, by Ellen Hopkins – a 537-page novel written entirely in verse!   Her language is hot, brutal, honest and terrifying.  And that’s just the kind of writing we’re going to do in this workshop.

  • We’re going to throw away punctuation, capitals, paragraph breaks and even spelling.
  • We’re going to write on blank paper – no lines – no limits.
  • We’re going to write in the margins and maybe upside down.
  • We’re going to read out loud until our verse sounds like music.
  • We’re going to edit our phrases until the single, purest thought remains.
  • We’re going to tell stories in a startling new way.  In verse.

If you’re not familiar with verse novels and you’re not sure what I’m talking about check out these books at your local library (and if you like them there’s a hundred more):

  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  • Sister Slam by Linda Oatman High
  • Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • a Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Love Ghosts and Nose Hair by Steven Herrick

Oh, and don’t forget to check out mine too – Karma – a dramatic love story set in India in 1984.   http://cathy-ostlere.com/Karma/

I am Cathy Ostlere, Calgary writer.  I love YA fiction, particularly the verse novel, and can’t wait to work with you in this exciting, liberating genre.

If you have questions about verse novels or the workshop you can contact me here:  [email protected]

You can also check out my blog where I plan to discuss one verse novel every week:  http://cathyostlere.blogspot.ca/

See you this summer!


Take the course by Cathy Ostlere (week two)

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