Yes, I did just use “haiku” as a verb and I promise you, things are only going to go downhill from there. (Warning: Real poets may wish to avert their eyes.)
A few years ago, I wrote a post for SF Novelists called “Novel Haiku” where I suggested the game of summarizing one’s novel in the form of a haiku. Back in 2008, I described my novels like this, and shockingly, they both still work:
Kung fu goddess seeks
Five ancient jade statues and
Falls for geeky guy
Failing tech sends two
mermaids to find answers, and
their place in the world.
It’s Friday, and this is your challenge: Summarize one or more of your books in the form of a haiku. If you don’t have a novel of your own, pick any book to summarize.
Bring on the ‘ku!
36 thoughts on “Haiku Your Novel!”
Here’s my go!
Insomniac security guard fights
to destroy dream parasites that
threaten his younger sister.
Enter the Janitor
Supernatural janitors and maids
keep the world clean and
safe from unnatural Corruption.
These are great!! The haiku for Parasomnia especially makes me want to read it. Although the idea of supernatural janitors is pretty awesome…
This only took me, like 20 minutes….
THE CLOCKWORK GIANT
Two young engineers
Build clockwork automaton
While falling in love.
20 minutes well spent — that sounds wonderful!!
Mute girl in college
Ex-socialite falls into
Old habits die hard.
That took me forever to decide “Is it more important to mention the social outcast she’s falling for, or the fact that she’s getting dragged back into being a socialite?” So I settled on above. Fun challenge.
As silly as this exercise is, it is kind of valuable to distill the book’s basic idea down. I love how you incorporated both your main points!
Dog isn’t a dog
A horse who isn’t a horse
What the hell is this?
I should have titled that one WINTERLING.
I particularly love how you worked swearing in. :-D
Especially for a MG book. :-)
Wow, this is harder than i expected. Ah well, here goes:
Home again, Hallie
Battles lightning and magic
To stop a killer.
I think the last line should just be a string of curses. :-D
boy raised by trolls
ends up neither man nor troll –
frog jumps into pond
scion of witches
puts down musket, picks up wand –
spring in massachussetts
Love it, Charlie!
Charlie, I can’t believe how well you’ve conformed to the actual strictures of haiku, including the kigo (seasonal reference). I kowtow to your mad haiku skills!
Jenn, well the first one is just a play on Basho’s frog haiku, which was itself a play on the traditional kigo about the frogs croaking. It was pretty damn funny in the 17th century to folks who were familiar with haiku. Most kigo don’t translate well to English because the words don’t have the same seasonal and emotional connotations. If I had ended the second one with “old tree sprouts new buds” or something like that, it would have carried the same weight for most readers that the word “spring” does — cf. e.e. cummings’ “now I lay me down to dream of Spring”.
I could go off a whole different tangent about the 5-7-5 form in English, which is a misunderstanding of Japanese haiku forms particularly the function of the kireji, but I’ve tried before and that’s just a losing battle. I will, however, point you to “senryū” in wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senryū – “senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer total morae (or “on”, often translated as syllables, but see the article on onji for distinctions). Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word.” Most of what folks are writing here are senryū, especially Sarah’s and Greg’s great summaries of their books.
charlie spouting off
about poetry again –
could be anything
Next up, a conversation about sonnets and the sonnet form…
Er, *wouldn’t have carried the same weight
Some writers want a personal assistant. I want a personal copyeditor.
I clearly don’t know as much as you do about haiku and senryu, but I debated long and hard about how to write this journal entry — I had paragraphs devoted to how the 5-7-5 syllable structure was an American thing and had nothing to do with real haiku. I even talked about seasonal references and nature. In the end, I decided I was taking myself too seriously, although a little part of my soul died because of the cultural appropriation. I’m thrilled to have this comment on record here — I think you’ve redeemed us all a little.
I’ve reconciled myself to the cultural appropriation issue by acknowledging that the western haiku is about as much like the original form as the western ghazal is like its namesake.
Anyway, I think you made the right choice. People don’t give a shit about haiku vs. senryu or other questions of form. They just want to play around within a set of rules and have fun. And that’s what your post encouraged all of us to do! At least I had fun….
Girl heals with her hands
Twin brother sees the future
Someone wants them dead
That was way too much fun. Who knew?
Yay! Sounds like a very fun book!
Fer is a healer
No wait, she’s a warrior!
Kickass, either way.
I love it!!
The Magic Thief
Boy becomes wizard
Overcomes magical foes
His name’s not Harry
The Magic Thief: Lost
Conn loses his stone
How dumb is this kid?
The Magic Thief: Found
Conn is a wizard
Rowan becomes the duchess
They do not get hitched
Okay, these made me LOL, especially “They do not get hitched.” Okay, actually all the last lines. Maybe your next book needs to be humorous!
This post and the comments are my favorite internet thing of the day!
Norse god and his dog
Brothers are world-ending jerks
Chops family tree
Sad, lonely summer
Fights lobster dudes and big squid
Best summer ever
Boy wakes up alone
Hikes with his robot buddy
Mammoth poops a bunch
These are great, Greg! But I must admit that the last line about Protein was the icing on the… cake. (You thought I was going to say poop, didn’t you.)
Sharing a head-space
Makes for rude awakening
Peace and war collide
Ha! Nice, Marsha!
These are fabtastic!
I will second that. My attempts lack… what’s the word… ah hah! Syllables.
I’ll have a go, using my WIP:
Lord’s enchanted wife
falls for eccentric neighbor.
Murder or menage?
HA! The last line really sells me.
To change the world
All it takes is the right mind
Put in the right place
Love it, Jared. Simple and powerful.
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