On Rhythm

February: Rhythm
Poetry has an obvious rhythm, but so does prose. Writing can be as musical as, well, music writing (as those doing FAWM may know!). What type of cadence do you find in your own writing? Are you short and choppy? Long and lyrical? And why is your way better than anyone else?

Rhythm is usually applied to music or poetry – though not all poetry has rhythm. However, it’s also something that’s important to remember in writing prose. When you’re writing a story, one thing that determines the pacing of the story is the rhythm of the writing.

An action scene tends to work better with shorter sentences. On the other hand, a romance or an introspective piece might work better with longer phrases. Even knowing that, my sentences tend to be long. I like words. I like linking ideas– stringing them together like a bunch of Christmas lights.

There is a definitely rhythm in my writing. I think part of that comes from the fact that I am as much a poet as I am a prose writer. My poetry tends to be brief. The sentences are short. I put the thoughts out there as succinctly as I can.

My prose is different. Part of that is due to the characters I enjoy writing. I tend to write at least one character into each story that enjoys the sound of their own voice. That means their dialogue tends to be wordy. When that character is also the narrator or viewpoint character, that wordiness flows right into the narration.

It’s better… well, it’s better for me because it’s how I write. Those long, lyrical phrases strung together with ellipses or dashes are part of my natural voice. If I tried to write in any other way, it would sound like a different writer’s work.

In a world where everything that could be written probably already has one of the thing that separates one story from another is the writer’s individual voice.

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