Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Questions from the Netherlands: On Pointe
I just received a provocative email from a teen in the Netherlands who is writing an essay on my verse novel, On Pointe. She noticed how the literary structure itself reflects dance. I thought to share a few of her questions and my answers. How fun when readers make writers think!

Q. Did you mean for the style and structure to influence the movement of the novel?
A. Yes. If you compare On Pointe to my other works, Loose Threads and Hold Me Tight, you'll see that the entries are not titled as they are in the other two novels. By crafting the work without titled verses, my aim was to mimic the flow of one long dance.

Q. Why use this way of portraying the movements the way you did, rather than using more imagery?
A. The structure of the verses imitates ballet steps (pages 126-127) so that a reader unfamiliar with ballet can still gain an impression/feeling of various movements. I definitely didn't want to descend into particulars of steps and lose the non-ballet reader.

Q. Are there any particular sections in the novel that you wanted to convey the movement more than other parts of the novel, and if that were so, which parts would those be?
A. Here are a few examples, at least. I believe I have used repetition of words on page 99 to convey the endless repetition of the preparation needed in order to master the ballet art form. I think of the short lines beginning on page 51 that run onto 52 talking about doing a split. The terseness mimics how Clare is split, cut thin by her situation. Generally, descriptive passages, like those on page 17, have the freedom to meander and run longer, like Clare's life outside of dance. Ballet passages tend to be tighter, more controlled like the art demands. And finally, on pages 4-6, I meant to reflect the long leg of a dancer on pointe.

Q. Is there a particular reason you chose to write this novel in free-verse rather than prose?
A. Yes, I believe the story works well in free verse as the format carries heavy emotion easily. It is difficult to write a work wherein the protagonist does not achieve her goals/dreams. I knew verse would allow the reader to dip in and out of the pain more easily. The white space allows the reader room to breath. And as you've discovered, verse can mimic dance. 

Here's to critical thinking! 

1 comment:

Emma D Dryden said...

This is marvelous, Lorie Ann! I love the questions, I love your answers -- and it recalls the wonderful time we had working on this book together. Cheers!