Write music.

I ran across this piece of advice on the Writing Reddit and had to go hunt down the original quote by Gary Provost.

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.

 

3 Comments

  1. sevenwind (@sevenwind)No Gravatar says:

    That’s a great quote and good advice. My two cents to you about writing is look to Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, two guys that wrote for the pulps and had to make every word count. So they had to say more with less. I’m sure you read the Conan stories, but go back and look at the way REH wrote. To me it’s just awesome. Maybe that will help you.

    Then go rent The Whole Wide World. It’s good. :)

  2. BrianNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, I’ve never read either author. I keep meaning to pick up one of Howard’s Conan books but never seem to get around to it. My “to read” list is pretty ridiculous already but eventually I’ll get to one. Lovecraft though has never been on my radar. I’m not a Cthulhu, occult, or horror fan.

  3. xXJayeDuBXxNo Gravatar says:

    Dude, that’s actually pretty darn cool! It’s advice I’ll have to remember if and when I get back to blogging.