Sonnets & Writing

I fell in love with sonnets back in high school. Inspired by the works of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, I wrote my diary in this format. Poetry has not been part of my reading list for a long time since I write prose exclusively now. A friend’s shelf guided me to Pablo Neruda’s Love Sonnets and the poet’s beautiful words made my heart sing. These sonnets will definitely improve my writing.

Sonnets: A Definition

A sonnet is a poem composed of fourteen lines. There are ten syllables in one line. A Petrarchan/Italian sonnet has two parts: the octave introduces the conflict and the sestet comments on or solves the problem. The rhyming scheme is different for English and Italian sonnets. The translated works of Pablo Neruda does not rhyme at all.

Sonnets of Love & Sensuality

Shakespeare’s sonnets talk about love. Pablo Neruda’s sonnets talk about love and sensuality. His written words marry the beautiful island he lives in with descriptions of his wife’s body.

World-Building Inspiration

As a writer of prose, I am not big on descriptions. Dialogue and actions fill the pages of my stories. This is a flaw in my opinion, part of my prose should be descriptions. World-building should transport my readers to my characters’ environment. The sonnets of Pablo Neruda are filled with descriptions that evoke feelings, sets the mood. His sonnets will inspire the building blocks of my fantasy world-building from now on.

Take what is familiar, what makes readers feel a certain way and use that to create the fantasy. Let the words move the readers.

Lyrical Character Descriptions

Lyrical descriptions of the characters in the story can also endear them to the reader. Madeline Miller and N.K. Jemisin are masters of this art. The way they describe their flawed characters through the eyes of people who love them makes the reader more forgiving of their foolishness.

The sonnets of Pablo Neruda makes his wife seem like a goddess of the earth that he has been blessed with. His descriptions are not specific, they can apply to any woman you love. But the feeling is unmistakably love and adoration.


Reading poetry will definitely make me a better writer. Inspiring me to find the right words to describe my world and characters better, it will improve my stories. Sonnets, specifically, will amp up the romance in my stories.

Liza Cordero

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