Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finding Your Rhythm

Rob has a thing with rhythm in stories and words. You know when you vary the sentence structure to help with the flow and rhythm of the story. He has a very good point. There is something about a story with a good rhythm that is restful. It is pleasant and relaxing to read a book that has that kind of rhythm.

This type of rhythm can be created by varying the sentence structure. Think back to when you diagrammed sentences. (Tangent--as a student I always thought diagramming was such a pointless pain in the butt, but when I taught grammar it helped me to see if the students really got it.) Most sentences go Subject verb object. There are very few exceptions in the average persons writing. The trick to creating the rhythm is to vary the pattern. object subject verb. Verb. Even a few incomplete sentences thrown in for good measure. Honestly it may be a nightmare to diagram a nice lyrical paragraph, but it makes for more restful reading.

The rhythm of a story is a really strong tool. You can use it to slow down a story or to speed it up or to create a feeling of peace or tension. While it is great if you can find the right rhythm for your story during your first draft, you can always go back and rework parts of your story to find that natural rhythm that you want. Rhythm is something can be worked on after you've gotten the bare bones of your story out.

How do you do with writing rhythm? What are tricks that you have learned to make the rhythm of your stories better?


L.T. Elliot said...

That same idea of structuring a sentence is something I try to work on. I also try to compare the sentences to music and see how it sounds. Reading aloud helps a lot for that.

Great post, Mim!

Shelli said...

i listen to music to drown out the kids :)