There is music in words. Listen to a conversation in a language you don’t understand and focus on the lyrical quality. When you aren’t distracted by what is being said, you hear the rhythm of the words and the melody in the tones.
Written words are musical as well. A story, in essence, is a symphony of syllables. Writers weave words into melodies, sentences that flow into passages, then swell into movements.
Writers hear the words as they are put onto the page, as if they being spoken. Their structural tempo evokes mood and conveys emotion. A character’s purpose and journey is intertwined with the melody. The author’s voice is the harmonic fabric that blends intertwining melodies into a vibrant whole.
Many writers find inspiration, and connect with the inner muse, through music. The proof is in the playlists they post on social media, different music for each story.
Find Your Writing Rythm
A writer’s rhythm is their voice. I already have a blog post on The Illusive “Voice” ~ What Editors Want and Writers Seek, so I won’t go into that again. Instead I’ll cut to the chase, to the three simple steps anyone can use to find their unique voice:
- Read. Read. Read.
- Write. Write. Write.
Read everything in your genre, then read widely in other genres. When you find an author whose style resonates with you, read everything they’ve written. Then read those books again. In the sheer act of reading and rereading their words, you absorb the rhythm of the prose, which miraculously transforms into your own unique voice.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or tools to write. ~Stephen King
A writer’s voice isn’t a static. The quality of voice evolves as a writer hones and polishes their craft. It takes both reading and writing to discover your writing rhythm, your voice.
Making Music with Words
A story is a symphony of syllables, with possibilities as rich and varied as the imagination. The following excerpts are from books by remarkable authors, each with a unique voice.
by Maggie Stiefvater: As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air. That was what I loved, when I was human.
The Game of Love and Death
by Martha Brockenbrough: “If life didn’t end,” he [Love] said, “there would be no need for me. To choose love in the face of death is the ultimate act of courage. I am the joy, but you [Death] are the meaning. Together, we make humanity more than it otherwise might have been.”
The Beauty of Darkness
by Mary E. Pearson: The world flickered, pulling us into protective darkness, and I was in his arms again, our palms damp, searching, no lies, no kingdoms, nothing between us but our skin, his voice warm, fluid, like a golden sun, unfolding every tight thing within me, I will love you forever, no matter what happens.
by Katherine Applegate: I noticed several weird things about the surfboarding cat. Thing number one: He as a surfboarding cat. Thing number two: He was wearing a T-shirt. It said CATS RULE, DOGS DROOL. Thing number three: He was holding a closed umbrella, like he was worried about getting wet. Which, when you think about it, is kind of not the point of surfing.
Truman Capote understood the music of words. For him, it was the joy of writing.
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.~Truman Capote
What story do you need to write, what symphony do you have to play?