NovElla · Quotes · Science Fiction · The Hobbit · YA

Mixed Prose

What do you think about mixing different styles of writing? About adding songs and poetry into a fictional book? Sometimes it feels as though every new YA novel is using poetry epigraphs at the start of each chapter. Authors have actually been mixing it up this way for centuries! Even Shakespeare frequently used poetry in his plays.

YA novels with poetry quotes and epigraphs:

Matched  Clockwork Angel  Tiger's Curse


Combining different styles can really enhance the impact of a piece. The narrative will add more meaning to a poem or song. If the lyrics are already well known, they can bring extra emotion to a scene in the story.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a number of songs in The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins sings the following walking song when he leaves the Shire.

The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can.

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then? I cannot say.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

These songs add depth and richness to Middle Earth. Including poetry in fantasy books provides a sense of the unique culture and history. Robert Jordan also does this in The Wheel of Time, particularly for ancient prophesies.

Another great example of mixing mediums is in picture books and graphic novels, which have both text and pictures. I happened to read the illustrated edition of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Having the drawings right there was really useful in order to get a better idea of the maps and symbols.

Da Vinci Code  Fibonacci Sequence

Musicals, and even music videos, are blends on the opposite side of the spectrum, containing the most music.

Taylor Swift’s award winning music video for “You Belong with Me” actually incorporates written words. This mini-movie complements the song, while adding new elements and a happy ending.



2 thoughts on “Mixed Prose

  1. The poetry was one of my favorite things about the Matched series. I also like the “quarry songs” Shannon Hale wrote for the Princess Academy series.

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