Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Three Tips to Improve Your Writing Rhythm > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Three Tips to Improve Your Writing Rhythm

As a professional copywriter, not only do I do a lot of writing but I also look at a lot of writing. One of the things I've noticed that set the good/great writers from the so-so is rhythm.

What I mean by rhythm is how the writing sounds. The rhythm of the words and sentences. It's a subtle aspect of writing, one not normally talked about, but that doesn't lessen its importance.

Unfortunately, rhythm is also tough to teach (which is probably why it isn't talked about very much). It's something felt deep inside, like it is with music. It isn't as straight forward as pointing out a grammar error. What makes it tougher is that everyone has his/her own style and own unique rhythm. However, these three tips should get you started thinking about your own writing rhythm and how to improve it.

1. Watch out for long sentences. In fact, you might want to consider avoiding them altogether.

There's nothing inherently wrong with long sentences. And there are times where longer sentences are necessary (see next tip -- but note I said longer and not long). The problem is that long sentences have a tendency to turn into flabby sentences.

Think of a sentence as an eel. The longer it gets, the more slippery and elusive it becomes. Long sentences are sentences just waiting to slither far away and completely out of your control.

So what's going on with long sentences? One problem is they're tiring to read. By the time readers reach the end of a long sentence, they've most likely forgotten the subject/verb/point of the sentence. And they're probably too tired or too lazy or too busy to go back to the beginning of the sentence and sort the whole thing out.

Another problem is long sentences lack punctuation. Punctuation is a big part of rhythm. The start and stop of a period. The bated breath of an em-dash. Think of punctuation as your percussion section.

But when you write a long sentence, all you have to work with is the quiet sigh of the unobtrusive comma. Yes, they have their place. But it's a subtler instrument. (Think triangle rather than kettledrum.)

A good rule of thumb is to make sure a single sentence doesn't go over 30 words. If it does, strongly consider breaking it in two. Or three.

2. Vary sentence length. In music, a steady beat is usually a good thing. In writing, it's considered one of the deadly sins. (Okay, not really. But it still isn't good writing.)

If every sentence is the same length, your writing is going to get pretty dull pretty quick. You need short sentences, longer sentences (but not too long) medium length sentences and very short sentences.

How do you know if your sentences are all the same? Does your piece sound monotonous? Are you getting a sing-song voice in your head when you read it? Better take a closer look at those sentence lengths. They're probably all pretty close to being the same.

3. Sentence fragments are a good thing. Forget your fourth-grade English teacher. Forget that obnoxious green line in Microsoft Word telling you your grammar is wrong. In copywriting, as well as in many other forms of writing, sentence fragments are a lifesaver. Those fragments allow you to quickly and easily vary your sentence length. Plus, they can help your writing sound conversational. People talk in sentence fragments. Therefore, reading sentence fragments gives people the impression you're talking to them -- in your own voice and your own style.

So what's a sentence fragment? A sentence that isn't complete. It's missing something -- noun, verb, both. It's not a complete sentence.

Rhythm in writing is much more than just what's going on with your sentences. (Not that we've covered everything that goes wrong with sentences.) But it's a good place to start.

Creativity Exercises -- Get in touch with your writing rhythm

Hearing things out loud is a good way to start getting in touch with your writing rhythm. You may have heard of this technique to find mistakes -- and yes, it's a good way to discover errors. But, this is also an excellent way to start getting to know your own unique rhythm.

Start by reading your own work out loud. If you've never done this before, try not to be too hard on yourself. Chances are you're going to discover all sorts of problems -- including too long sentences and paragraphs where all the sentences are the same length. Make a note of what needs fixing.

Once you fix it, read it out loud again. Then read it the original way. Listen to the difference. Even better, try to feel the difference -- deep inside, in your gut. Our gut is an excellent rhythm sensor.

You should also read out loud things you haven't written. And read a variety of things -- plays, novels, direct mail pieces, newspaper articles, Web sites, poems. Read bad writing and read writing that's so beautiful your knees buckle. Listen to the rhythm while you're reading. How does it make you feel? More importantly, how does it make your gut feel? Your gut will never lie to you -- learn to trust it.

Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency. She offers two free e-newsletters that help subscribers combine their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She can be reached at www.writingusa.com. Copyright 2004 Michele Pariza Wacek

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Kavanaugh's extra-judicial writing and speeches
SCOTUSblog (blog)
We've collected extra-judicial writing, speeches and panel appearances of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. We may continue to update this post as we find additional materials. Articles and speech transcripts published in law reviews. “Defense Presence and ...


Chicago Tribune

Lucy Dacus talks books, writing songs as 'short stories' at Pitchfork Music Festival
Chicago Tribune
Because of Book Fort's literary bent, the duo discussed books and writers that inspired them, the relationship between how readers internalize books and listeners personalize music from a writer's perspective, and the struggle to balance expectations ...

and more »

Golden State of Mind

Interested in writing for Golden State of Mind? Here's how to apply.
Golden State of Mind
Perhaps even moreso than usual, we're not in a place of dire need for writers right now, but I occasionally receive emails from people interested in volunteering with us and like to open it up for submissions during the offseason when there's ...

and more »

Five Kindle Direct Publishing Authors Win Top Romance Writing Award
Odessa American
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 20, 2018--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Five indie authors have been named winners of Romance Writers of America 2018 RITA Awards, which recognize excellence in published romance fiction. All five authors published their ...


CNN

Circuit Court nomination pulled moments before vote over racially insensitive writing
CNN
(CNN) The White House withdrew the nomination of Circuit Court hopeful Ryan Bounds on Thursday, moments before the nominee was to face his Senate confirmation vote and after South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott raised concerns. Multiple ...
Trump Judicial Nominee Withdraws After Concerns Over Racially Insensitive WritingWall Street Journal
GOP Senator Defects, Sinks Trump Judicial Nominee With History of Racist WritingSlate Magazine
Mitch McConnell withdraws key Trump judge nominee over racially insensitive writingsBusiness Insider
Politico -Washington Post -Alliance for Justice -OregonLive.com
all 134 news articles »

Dallas News

Love writing? At the 2008 Mayborn Conference, N. Scott Momaday conveyed its power stunningly
Dallas News
Mr. Momaday held the crowd of 450 transfixed as he talked about writing and the power of the oral tradition. Transfixed is not quite the word — at times, the stillness in the cavernous hotel ballroom was near-complete. Not a chair squeaked, not a ...


Art Newspaper

Read the winning essays in new UK prize for art history
Art Newspaper
We asked one of the judges, David Dibosa, a reader in museology at the University of the Arts London, about the yardsticks for judging the entries. “For me, engagement in art is all about vision. From top art criticism to school essays, writers have to ...


Bam! Smack! Pow!

SDCC 2018: Joss Whedon writing new Dr Horrible comic
Bam! Smack! Pow!
During Friday's Hall H reunion panel at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the musical parody, Joss Whedon announced he is writing a continuation in comics form, The Hollywood ...

and more »

Writing on the Hall: Unsustainable
Rutland Herald
Since returning to City Hall coverage, I've had the occasional feeling like I've fallen into a mirror universe. It was sharpest this week, with tax rates getting set on the dramatically increased budget assembled by Mayor David Allaire and Alderman ...

Google News

Sell More Books With a Powerful Back Cover

Did you know that your back cover information is, after... Read More

Write For Yourself First

It would be very selfless or noble of me to... Read More

Basic Writing Tips ? Some Controversial, All Correct

As a previous article ("Making Better Word Choices ? 4... Read More

Technical Writing for the Terrified

IntroductionSometimes it may be beyond a companies or individuals budget... Read More

Writers Block is No Longer a Problem

"If you're like me, than I'm sure you're pretty familiar... Read More

Five Common Errors to Correct Before Submitting a Letter or Report

First impressions count in writing too! So it is always... Read More

When Getting Stuck Goes Amuck

Many of us have always wanted to write. We have... Read More

Retail Margin, Trade Discount, and What it Means for the Author

DEFINITIONSRetail margin is basically the difference between your book's wholesale... Read More

Strategies For Finding Topics To Write About

What possibly could I have to write about? I never... Read More

Who Else Wants To Make $3546 By Simply Pressing a Button!

If you have been online for any length of time... Read More

Does The Title Reflect The Story?

Short Story Writing Tips ?We all have different tastes in... Read More

The Self-indulgent Writier

A writer can never be self indulgent whether writing fiction,... Read More

The Top Five Writing Mistakes Professionals Make

Yes, you know your subject. You also need to think... Read More

How to Write Bad Poetry

So you've decided to crown yourself with a title that... Read More

How to Build Your Site with Other Peoples Content -- Part 1

Building a new website can be extremely exciting. Seeing your... Read More

How to Use Textpad to Write Articles Faster

It's a good idea to use TextPad because all opt-in... Read More

How to Outline your Book and Chapters with Mindmapping

Mindmapping is better than linear outlining because authors can use... Read More

Writers Helping Writers - A Noble Legacy

It is satisfying to be a part of such a... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 1 of 6

ACCEPT, EXCEPT Not commonly seen even from unpublished writers, who... Read More

Mixing and Mingling: The Door to Publication?

Mixing and mingling with industry professionals is an opportunity that... Read More

Fight The Fluff!

The first and final rule of quality writing is this:... Read More

Authors-Stop Expensive Mistakes Before you Spend on Professional Services

So many clients come to me as a book or... Read More

Balance Your Life

Balance your life ... Read More

From Book Notes to Book Reports

Writing papers and book reports has long been the bane... Read More

A New Way To Self Publish

More and more good authors are turning to the Internet... Read More