Hey, um, I know you’re very busy, but you’re the only person I follow that I’ve seen post poetry, and I just wrote my first complete poem, and I don’t know what to do with it, how to edit it or anything to polish it up? Like … all my other attempts at poetry stuttered out before the complete emotion got captured, and I’ve got no idea what to do now, if you have time to help? (or if you think you’ll have time in the future, I have an abundance of patience) thank you, for your time.


I know lots of people who never revise their poetry and it’s a valid life choice. Continuing to move forward and produce more writing will def teach you all kinds of things and you’ll edit future poems as you write them with things you learned while writing some other, early poem.

On the other hand, tho, I do have some suggestions for how to revise a poem! I don’t write poetry of my own accord, really, but I did have to take several classes on it, so here are some suggestions. Frankly all of these can be done to prose as well but they’re especially good for poetry revision because poetry is so short and every line counts.

This is less an ordered list of how to revise and more several revision things you should probably cycle through and flip flop around on and possibly sometimes do simultaneously for best results. 

Set it aside for awhile.

This is pretty much the first step for all good revisions. Unless this poem is gnawing up your brain and you can’t think of anything else, save it somewhere out of the way for at least a couple days and produce some other writing in the meantime. Distance from a first draft is super useful because it will give you fresh eyes.

Read it out loud.

Ideally, actually, get a group of people you don’t mind hearing your poetry together (I realize that this can be a Task; I certainly wouldn’t be able to assemble such a group without lots of effort and worry) or at least one other person or at least a recording program so that you can play your own reading back to yourself. A group of several people will give you lots of variety in how each one reads it, although you might get more bang for your buck if you introduce a new person to the poem for each new draft.

You’ll probably find some parts you stumble over reading out loud, or parts you read fine but that don’t sound quite right when you play back the recording. If you have someone else reading it, they’ll help you find those things and might read the poem in a way you hadn’t considered. Plus, you know, having someone else read it is the freshest pair of eyes you can get. Reading the poem out loud also prevents skimming or skipping over things. Rewriting your poem by hand can also help with that.

Interrogate your word and punctuation choice.

Obviously there’s the usual SPAG editing to be done – and don’t skimp on the grammar part! If you’re going to have a run-on sentence, why? If you’re going to punctuate using only em dashes, why? If you’re going to leave in a comma splice, why? Every change you make from standard SPAG will draw attention, so you should think about why you want it like that. “It sounds best like this” is 100% real and legit. “It’s incorrect grammar but that’s just how I talk” is so valid. Do not remove your voice from your poem! However, do consider rephrasing everything, as a general rule, because the more you think about your poem and what you want out of it the better your revision will go. 

Look for ambiguity. Maybe you want ambiguity, but in that case just look for it to make sure you’ve got enough of it and in the right places. And consider all your words individually. Some people swear that the very first word they pick is always the right one and I’m not advising you to bust open the thesaurus on every word (please do not, normal everyday words are strong brave friends who belong in our writing) but you’ll probably find that there are at least some words that are kind of wish-washy. Did you use adverbs? Maybe try to replace all your adverb+verb combos with a stronger verb. What about your nouns – did you use an indefinite article (a, an) where you maybe would prefer a definite one (the), or the other way around? Is there any place where you could be more specific to enhance your meaning or evoke a certain feeling/experience?

Destroy and then rebuild your line breaks (and/or stanzas).

…assuming you’re writing free verse. If you’re not, your line breaks are probably kind of set in stone and you’ll have to mess around with word order and word choice. Which, you know, you should do with free verse too, but still.

This is probably easier to do on a computer than by hand, but you could totally do it by hand – rewrite the poem as one big paragraph and then put in slashes for line breaks? Or rewrite it out below with line breaks again? Either would probably be good. Whatever works for you.

The point of this is: more attention will be paid to the beginning and end of a line. More attention will also be paid to the beginning and end of a stanza. Poems that rhyme or have established structure like sonnets are like puzzles where you’re trying to arrange all the words to say what you mean in the structure you’ve chosen! But for free verse, the only structure the poem has is the structure you put in it, so every structuring choice you make is super important. 

It’s kind of like renovating a house vs building a house of your own. Both are good ways to get a place to live that looks the way you want, but designing a renovation involves things like, “Okay, that wall is structural, let’s make it a feature so you can’t even imagine the house without the wall,” while building a house from the ground up means there are only walls where you want them. (I mean, building code and physics permitting – it’s not an exact metaphor.)

People will read longer lines faster. Or, rather, line breaks indicate a pause or interruption in the flow of words, so the shorter your lines are the slower your poem will be read overall. Also, as a general rule, only get weird with your formatting after you’re really sure you’ve got the word parts down and only to achieve some specific effect. The weirder your formatting gets the more you should read your poem out loud when you revise.

Shorten and lengthen your poem.

If your poem is ten lines long, can you make it nine lines? Five lines? If your poem is six stanzas, can you remove the middle two? What about lengthening it, could you expand on your favorite or least favorite line? I mean, if you can’t delete your least favorite line, then there must be parts in there that are necessary, right? Hell, pop that sucker out and see if you can rephrase just your least favorite part as an entirely new poem or stanza and figure out a better way to say or imply the same thing. Then shorten that new poem down until you can put it back where your least favorite line came from.

Every part of your poem should belong there. I know I tend to write poems longer than they need to be, so editing for me usually involves removing at least 30% of the first draft. But you might be different! Some people I know find that their poems always need some additions to feel complete.

Reread earlier drafts.

I’m suggesting some pretty wild edits here because sometimes the only way to find the best version of a poem is to find all the really really bad versions that you loathe. Revision and editing don’t have to have the goal of creating a “better” version because, like Jacks said, writing is totally a muscle and any writing things you do will make you better. Sometimes when I’m struggling with a scene I change point of view. Not because I think the scene needs a different point of view, but because I think I need to look at the scene from a different angle and remember why I picked my first point of view in the first place.

So: save separate drafts of your poetry rather than rewriting over them. Save often and with wild abandon and just number, timestamp, or date your drafts. Or print them out! Or do all your drafts handwritten! If you repeat everything above enough eventually the words in your poem will stop having meaning and you’ll go kind of cross-eyed trying to read it and that’s when you should put down all your drafts and go read or write something else before coming back to it. 



Hey lionheadbookends! Luckily you caught me in the limited window of free time, so I’m able to answer your ask now though I’m not entirely sure how much help I’ll be:

I’m honored that you thought of me in relation to poetry, but I’ll be honest… I don’t really know much about it at all. Usually the poetry I post up here is kind of stream of consciousness burbling up from my mind when no narrative can convey what I want it to, and except for here on tumblr (and, technically, the cross-posting onto ao3) I don’t really publish my work anywhere. I mean, I guess technically I don’t publish my work at all since even my few “real world writing” is in play format and so not published per se so much as performed a bit and then not at all.

I guess mostly it depends on what you want the poetry to be. Generally my poetry is me expressing (usually negative) emotions or concepts to declutter my brain so when I post it onto tumblr it’s almost like me throwing letters in bottles out into the ocean. It’s nice if someone reads them and enjoys them, but ultimately the act of writing it was all I wanted–everything else is inconsequential to my goal.

So what would you like your poetry to be? Is it something you want to use to convey a specific message to people (or particular person)? Is it something you want to use as a foundation for future works?

If it’s the last, I think even those other attempts at poetry that “stuttered out before [completion]” could be helpful as a way to build upon and improve your writing. This is mostly anecdotal advice, and somewhat cliché at that, but writing is very much something you have to practice to improve upon, like exercising a muscle, and as seen with me in the past few months, if you don’t use it, it does become more difficult.

… as I said before, I don’t think this is of much help, but I’m glad to hear you’ve written a poem that you’re satisfied with! I think that–your personal satisfaction with what you’ve written–is what is most important, especially with poetry which is so emotionally charged and intimate.

Do whatever you want but want whatever you do.

This applies to pretty much all creative writing. You don’t have to stick to “the rules” because “the rules” are more like strong suggestions. Conventional grammar choices will fade into the background without making a statement, letting your reader focus on your word choice. Simple words used in an abnormal order will draw attention to your specific meaning and sentence structure instead of catching the reader off guard with beautiful word choice. Mix it all together! Try it all out! Make a big mess! Look for readers who will tell you what they got out of the poem and why so that you can decide if your choices are having the effect you want them to have.

Maybe you’ll hate all your changes. Maybe your readers will give suggestions that make you want to physically snatch your writing back from them before they suggest anything else so wrong and bad. But finding out what changes or interpretations you hate means you’ll be more confident about the parts you like, and thinking about why you don’t like something that you’ve decided doesn’t work is often easier than thinking about why you like something that you don’t want to change. It’s unlikely anyone ever going to sit you down and try to interrogate you about why you don’t capitalize the first letter in each line or anything, but conscious choices make for a more polished poem.

Some actual, practical advice! Thank you, waffle! I’ve never actually taken a creative writing class, so this was new for me and much appreciated.



But, also, this is what I’m acting in! If you’re in the area, check it out here

First night is tomorrow–or, technically, tonight! Come out, come out, if you can 😀

(I’ll be real, here. Under a cut and in parentheses and italicized, because I want to express myself but I don’t want it to be the main thing, you know?

These past few weeks, I haven’t been my best, mentally. I’m sure some of you might have figured out my tendency for reverse seasonal depression–or overstimulation leading to depression during the warmer, brighter months instead of the usual–and I thought this year I had managed to avoid the most of it. But most likely that was more of a postponement due to being part of The Geek Show and gaining friends and getting more involved with the Bindlestiff community.

It caught up to me in the tail end of July and hit me hard these past few weeks.

But yesterday I managed to have a breakthrough of sorts. In part because I was able to FINALLY clean my room–which does help, more than you’d think–but mostly because I think I realized I was trying so hard to be okay instead of just letting myself not be okay. There are some things I can’t fix, but if I can make the slightest efforts towards the things I can, it helps.

My daily post has long since ceased to be a habit, broken and unlikely to come back anytime soon. But even if I can’t churn out the same amount of creative content as I used to, I hope I will continue to improve in quality–whether that be here or in my real life endeavors.

If you’ve read this far–thank you for your understanding and support. I know I would be so much worse off were it not for this blog and the feedback and interactions I’ve had with all of you, and a lot of my progress and improvement is founded on the courage and inspiration I draw from here.

Again, thank you.)

Jiraiya and Naruto, #47, any AU



Remember to Sleep, 47) things you said in a hotel room

Jiraiya’s at the hotel bar–and, yeah, maybe it’s a little early in the day for a drink or three, but who’s checking?–when he sees it: the briefest glimpse of all too familiar blonde hair.

He shakes his head, mutters to himself, “Don’t get your hopes up,” and goes back to his drink. It’s impossible, what he’s thinking, and besides, there’s a pair of beautiful young ladies who look like they might appreciate some excellent company.

He signals for the bartender to send over some complimentary drinks (mimosas, apparently, not like the princess who would appreciate harder liquor) and gets ready to put on some moves.

Fifteen minutes and a double dousing of socially acceptable daytime drinks in his face later, he spots it again: bright and messy, even through the champagne and orange juice in his eyes. This is a sign, no doubt, destiny telling him to follow–why else would those lovely ladies reject his advances?

The bartender, unimpressed but dutiful, passes Jiraiya a towel to wipe his face. Taking the opportunity, he asks, “What’s going on in the ballroom?”

The bartender shrugs, “Some kind of science convention. Not too sure. I’m hoping it’s medical–doctors really know how to drink.”

Jiraiya rolls his eyes, “You’re telling me.” But that’s a sob story for a different bartender, maybe, and he’s got an entirely different blonde to chase down.

According to the signs, it is indeed ‘some kind of science convention’. More specifically, one for cybernetic augmentations and enhancements. It is, unfortunately, hauntingly familiar stomping grounds for him.

Most of the names listed for panels are old or uninteresting–one of the main reasons he’s stopped coming to these things, even if they do offer all expenses paid. How this is supposed to be about innovations when it’s the same people rehashing the same tech is beyond him–except one of the smaller rooms, practically in fine print at the bottom of the itinerary, has a name he’s never seen before.

Not new to him entirely (Nara is common enough, almost a household name given the reach of their pharmaceuticals and the fact that practically everyone is medicated these days) but definitely new to this particular arena. Cautious branching out, maybe? That would explain why they have a small room instead of space in the main ballroom.

Except when Jiraiya gets to the room listed, it’s packed. Overflowing, practically. If he weren’t who he was, and the staff at the door hadn’t recognized him, he might not have gotten in–as is, it’s a tight squeeze. Which he wouldn’t mind if it were a crowd of buxom beauties, but, alas, he is surrounded by sweaty nerds. But why is such a popular panel in such a tiny room?

Or, maybe, he should be wondering: why is this Nara panel so popular?

Except once he gets to the front–“it’s such an honor that you’re here, sir, and also a surprise. We weren’t told you’d be here, but of course you’re more than welcome. Such an honor, please, there’s VIP seating,”–even that question flees from his mind.

Because sitting just next to that (surprisingly young and pretty, nothing like that stony-faced punk Shikaku) newcomer Nara is Minato…

… but not.

That’s definitely Minato’s god-awful hair, and damned too blue eyes, but it’s in a face more like Kushina’s. That’s definitely her smile on that brat’s face, aimed with laser accuracy at the Nara girl beside him.

“What the hell is going on?”

You know, I was sure, despite being the one to submit the prompt, and knowing it would include Naruto and Jiraiya, that the blonde hair Jiraiya had seen was Tsunade’s.

The fact that it was a scientific/medical conference only made that impression stronger, and I was hooked. I was like, “Where’s Naruto coming in? Is this a ‘get Tsunade to become Hokage’ equivalent?” Edge of my seat.

Which made the reveal of the Nara room a surprise, even though it really shouldn’t have been, given the information I had available to me, lol

And now I’m wondering why was the panel so popular? I don’t remember any relevant details from the original line of fics … better re-read, lol! ^_^

I headcanon that Jiraiya is almost always thinking about Tsunade in one way or another 😀

There’s nothing really specific in previous installments that would explain why the panel is so popular, but timeline-wise I made this so that it’s after the incident which resulted in Shikamaru getting a cybernetic arm. Like, Shikako’s already had her debut in the industry, and then she got a little popular, and then she was attacked but Shikamaru got in the way such that he’s the one who got hurt instead. Then Shikako went full hermit for a while–from the community and from her family–and probably would continued doing so if it weren’t for meeting Naruto. But she’s still paranoid, so she requested one of the smaller rooms and the event coordinators were just like “whatever gets you to our convention, yes, you can have this stranger sit next to you.”

So Jiraiya is actually witnessing her comeback, but since HE’S also been out of the loop for a while (probably not long after Minato and Kushina died), he thinks she’s a complete newcomer.

33 (things you said at the back of the theatre) makes me think of ‘Primadonna girl (says no thank you)’


Primadonna Girl (Says No Thank You), 33) things you said at the back of the theatre

“Not bad, Sparky,” Kankurou says once the most devoted fans have left, giggling to themselves and satisfied. Some of them glance his way curiously, but most are too focused on the autographed paraphernalia clutched in their hands.

She blinks at him, overly polite and practiced smile still pasted on her face. Best actress of their generation his ass. “Would you like me to sign something for you, Kazekage-sama?” she asks, gesturing with the marker still in her hand. “There might be some posters left over if you didn’t bring anything with you.”

Kankurou raises a brow at her, “And would that be as Kako Heijo or Shikako Nara?”

Her smile drops, replaced with a displeased wrinkling of her nose. Finally a real emotion from her.

“What do you want?” she asks, finally leaving the roped off section at the theater’s back exit. A flimsy cage for one of the continent’s most powerful shinobi, but somehow the only one that she deigns to be contained within. 

“I like to consider myself a patron of the arts,” he answers with a shrug, before walking into step beside her. There are a few paparazzi lingering at the end of the alleyway, ready to pounce, but one look at Kako Heijo’s current conversation partner makes them turn their cameras away.

Suna still has a harsh reputation, after all, no matter what attempts were made to ameliorate that. And it doesn’t help that Kankurou’s own ascension to the hat was particularly bloody. None of it by his hand or command, of course, but sometimes the truth can be the less believable explanation.

Sparky scoffs at his response, but doesn’t do anything to escape from his presence.

The silence as they go from theater to hotel isn’t comfortable by any means, but neither is it fraught or tense. The issues between them have long ago been settled, if unfortunately, and now there is nothing but the ruins of their shared ties.

If asked twenty years ago, he would not have guessed correctly on which of the two of them would be an internationally acclaimed performer and which would be a kage, but here they are.

Both of them trapped in roles neither of them wanted.

At the hotel, Sparky’s manager flutters in her direction, immediately jabbering about bodyguards and scheduling and exposure while carefully trying not to get too close to Kankurou. For that, he grins and enjoys the way the civilian flinches back.

“Don’t be a bully,” Sparky berates, distinctly ignoring all of her manager’s own admonishments.

“Leaf nin, always so soft hearted,” Kankurou responds, never mind that they both know it to be anything but true.

After all, shinobi and actors don’t deal in the truth.


A/N: … well this was a fucking weird return from my hiatus… uh… yeah.

I’ll be honest, some of my delay is the QAF show, but a lot of is was that I didn’t really know how to fill this and then… this happened?

Some kind of dark future fic in which, Kankurou ends up Kazekage and Shikako becomes world renowned actress Kako Heijo.

I have a sort of backstory for this world/how these roles came about if anyone’s interested?

Uh, sorry for the VERY BLEAK and VERY BELATED fill anon. Also sort of for that other anon who asked for theater kid Kankurou headcanons even though I’m not really doing a headcanon event at this time…

Bleak backstory for this under the cut, as asked for by @jickysilver and @donapoetrypassion

A LOT OF DEATH, BASICALLY. The timeline is as such:

Ebizo–because he is really really old and his sister has already died–passes. This isn’t a surprise and it doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue at first, but what this means is that there is no longer even the slightest bit of a leader amongst the council and that particular branch of the Suna government go, if not full dark, then shady.

Gaara somehow also dies/disappears under mysterious circumstances. It’s not too out there what with, I imagine, Gaara’s frequent trips to the Garden and the fact that no one really thinks anything can hurt him in the desert. I mean. Akatsuki is no longer a problem. And in a way I think Gaara’s trips through the desert and to the Garden are almost spiritual in nature (that boy would have made an excellent monk, I think)

Because of Gaara’s death/disappearance, the succession of Kazekage becomes an issue. The previously mentioned split/shady council basically go into civil war over which of the remaining siblings should become Kazekage. Temari is more suited, but she’s already married into the Nara clan of Konoha. Kankurou is considered “more loyal” but less suited.

Some enterprising council member decides to take matters into their own(?) hands and have Temari’s ties to Konoha severed… by having Shikamaru assassinated.

Unsurprisingly, this does not go as planned. Temari DEFINITELY does not want to go back to Suna for sure. That council member is found and arrested, and in the way of poltics/preventing war, offered to Konoha for them to punish as fit.

Naruto might already be Hokage by this point.

Naruto does not believe in capital punishment.

Many people, Temari and Shikako especially, object to this leniency.

But Temari has to think about Shikadai first (maybe?). Shikako doesn’t.

That council member does not get to live the rest of their life in prison as Naruto planned. That council member is found brutally murdered, in pieces, in front of the Hokage tower.

There is no proof as to who it was, but its a fairly open secret. Some people think Shikako went too far, some people think she has enacted the justice that Naruto failed to deliver. Because the Konoha Twelve are in position of power at this point in their life, this causes noticeable conflict within the village.

While Shikako still thinks Naruto was wrong about his handling of the Suna council member, she didn’t do this to overthrow him and so she removes herself from the picture entirely by pulling a more extreme Tsunade and renouncing her name entirely. Now she is the actress Kako Heijo (because Kinokawa Nara will be interim Nara clan head until Shikadai is grown).