Rhythm in Writing

I love music. I love sound. I have a hard time focusing if there isn’t noise around me in some way. I think writing is all about finding the rhythm of the piece. The story, poem, hybrid, etc. has to follow a certain flow to be an enjoyable read. That flow has to work from the overall arc of the story down to the individual sentence and word choice.  Now, does that mean that the rhythm is always the same since most writing follows a certain order?

No way. Just like the wide variety of music styles and songs, the rhythm of writing can vary wildly from one piece to the next. Let’s look at a basic example of rhythm in a story: beginning, middle, end. Now these three individual sections fuse together to create a coherent story by following a well-established sense of rhythm. The reader knows what to expect, just like a song with Verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, close verse.

Now, let’s say we switch it up and go with something like: middle, end, beginning. Now we’ve gotten the rhythm all mixed up. It’s like a techno-remix of a story!

However, in some instances this switch in rhythm can make the story better. A story that starts at the end and works its way backwards is a great example of switching the established rhythm. Don’t be afraid to break out of the usual pattern, just make sure the story still flows. Nothing should feel jarring or throw the reader out of the story.

Now, sentences are a lot more fun to change the rhythm on. If you want to create tension, try shorter, sharper sentences. Writing about a teen’s first kiss? Probably flowery, romanticized, adjective and feeling heavy words. It’s like the difference between the beat in a hip-hop song and the beat in a country song. Varying way you structure your sentences can really set the entire tone for the story. The words themselves make up the notes of your writing, so make sure you get them right.

Also, Happy, Happy Birthday to one of my best friends ever!! Happy B-day Jackie!


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