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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer


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control the pace

This excellent article on controlling the pace in storytelling includes at the end this richly illustrative book excerpt about the effect of varying sentence length in your writing:
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.

-- Gary Provost

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chaizzilla October 6th, 2005
me <--fan of cadence :)

jaipur October 6th, 2005
Now, that's effective! :)

blorky October 6th, 2005
Great article, great site. Thank you.

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