Forcing our characters to keep their thoughts succinct, brief, helps to solidify exactly what is important to them. It cuts to the core of their motivations and desires.
DAILY CREATIVE EXERCISE:
WRITE A TANKA
Tanka is an ancient form of Japanese poetry believed to exist for the last 1300 years which makes it older than haiku. As a form, the tanka poem consists of 31 syllables arranged in a metric pattern of 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7.
In Japanese, tanka is written in one straight line with no stresses and no rhyme scheme though the sounds and words are meant to resonate emotionally as in contemporary American free verse.
In English, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units:
Use this form to explore the driving motivation behind all of your characters actions. You can choose a theme such as OBSESSION or LOSS and have each of your characters write a tanka to express their "take" on it.
Use the below poems as a guide for structure and form. Tankas often deal with how nature is reflective of our inner emotional states. How a tree can symbolize our own growth, how the weather express our moods. Let your characters grow nostalgic, self-reflective. Let them wallow a bit.
my black hair tangled
I long for the one
who touched it first.
-- IZUMI SHIKIBU
Did he appear
because I fell asleep
thinking of him?
If only I'd known I was dreaming,
I'd never have wakened.
-- ONO NO KOMACHI