IN THE HOUR Haiku Planning

I recently learned the most marvelous story planning technique from fiction writer and teacher Linda Cracknell—using haiku to outline/plan your story.

She uses it for the short story but I’ve now adopted it for chapter plans—one haiku per chapter to release its heart and soul — and then others to capture the essence of story pulse points with the chapter.

As Cracknell says haiku embody imagery in words–and imagery is what’s often missing in outlining story points in more linear prose. Haiku get to the heart and soul of the moment being described in the story points. 

Here are a few of the #haiku that guiding the first chapters of In The Hour.


Winter dark.
Chill moonlit Manhattan then
ho shock.


In the flower shop
holly, lily, narcissus,
only winter blooms.

Manhattan moon shines
only half-seen night lights mute
its magnificence

darkened windows
puddles the whole black ocean
mirroring the moon

baby hospital
doctor looks over pince-nez
says “hermaphrodite”


in the fridge
a chilled bottle of wine asks
to be opened


pouring down plughole sharp smells
of the past


doorbell rings
three people from Ireland slam
then into now.

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