The Musicality of Writing

When I reread what I’ve written, I listen to the rhythm of the words and sentences. I like my narrative to be lyrical–especially in my literary pieces. Cadence matters. It’s one of the most valuable tools in the writer’s workshop, because it allows finesse.

Finesse also matters. Yes, exclamation points, ellipses, dashes, caps, and bold fonts or italics can bring your point home, but they’re all aggressive, obvious. They all say to the reader, “this is the way you should read.”

I’m not arguing with the use of those tools. They come in handy. But a carefully orchestrated cadence–the pulse of the beat of the words–presents the same message with the finesse that marks a mature writer.

Gary Provost illustrates what I mean far better than I can:

sentence length blog post

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Writing, Writing Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Musicality of Writing

  1. joanne says:

    So true – and even more so (dare I say absolutely critical?) for picture books – rhyming or not. Working on one right now about jump roping – and in some places I’m pondering whether the cadence isn’t even MORE important than the words. Great post, my friend!


  2. anemulligan says:

    I love this, Linda. I’m always telling new writers to make their prose a symphony. 🙂


  3. Pearl R. Meaker says:

    A great point! I’ll have to check my work out. 🙂


  4. K.M. Weiland says:

    Ah, that’s great. First time I’ve seen that quote.


  5. I do agree that cadence is very important. There is rhythm to our speech, I would think there should be to our prose as well. Great illustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. royjeffords says:

    When I comment on the beat or the rhythm of a piece in a critique group, I know the people who get what I’m saying are kindred spirits who understand words the way I do. Thank you for posting. I hope you don’t mind if I share.


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