I was doing quite well at posting every day for most of September. Then the wedding happened, and now it’s mid-October, and a lot of my posts daily have been from The 25. That’s not a bad thing, but I feel like the last few have made me talk around in circles and saying a lot of the same things over and over. So today, I will just give a blurb on the topic and move on to greener pastures so as not to send you monkeys chasing a weasel indefinitely.
10. Rhythm is the subliminal soundtrack in writing. To explore options for moving a reader along, choose a dramatic passage from a published piece you admire. How do you feel when you read it? (Notice your breathing, heart rate, posture and emotions.) How did the writer provoke this response? How do word pairings and sentence and paragraph structures contribute to its momentum? How do these rhythmic choices serve the piece’s meaning?
Now, write a passage that echoes the patterns you’ve discovered. If the first sentence is three short words, yours should be, too. Where a descriptive image blossoms for a paragraph, let yours do the same. Communicate emotion through your rhythm. You might let rage stutter through the syncopation of words and halting punctuation, or stream through run-on sentences. Notice how these choices support or squelch the surrounding narrative. Just as a musician practices scales until they become second nature, your attention to the mechanics of rhythm will help you improvise over time.
You can probably see how I feel I’ve covered this already. Between pace and my post on sentence structure, I think I’ve about beaten that horse to death. Hurrah.
So let’s take that half-dead horse to a nice green pasture and talk about something else, no?
I have to admit, I’m a wee bit stuck on my novel revision. Part of it is because I feel overwhelmed with just how much I need to fix. Draft two is so close to the end, yet I have this litany of stuff going through my head every time I think about sitting down with it. (Cut chapters from the end-where the hell is Lily-texture Cam’s character-scene with John McLeroy-pacing, pacing, pacing) Not to mention all the tiny things, the polishing things like buffing out the adverbs and passive voice. It’s a daunting task sometimes, revision.
(Half-dead horse agrees. I think she likes her green pasture.)
What do you do, gentle viewers? When revision gets painful, how do you bust down that wall? I might have to bite my fist and just take out some of the more complex plot details, but I like my story having depth and texture. I don’t think they take away from the pacing; they just don’t come to fruition till the second or third book sometimes. I blame Robert Jordan for that — stuff he mentioned in books two or three of the Wheel of Time has come up in books eleven or twelve. Anyway. I’m curious to hear how you fellow writers work on revision in longer works when the going gets tough. Any comments or thoughts or advice?
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