Update for those following the write-a-thon: My current goal is rewriting a chapter a week. Last night I breezed through a great deal of chapter 5. I have one more scene to add in tonight, and then I can move forward. That was faster than expected.

I’d like to talk about one more aspect of revision before I let that topic go, and that’s rhythm. How many of you take the time to read your work aloud after you’ve completed the basic story? I think it’s a very important step in making sure that your writing sounds good and that you don’t have those evil sentences that begin and end with the same words. If you like the way words sound, I think it’s almost indispensable.

How do you handle the flow of your sentences?


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “Rhythm”

  1. Reading aloud can be very effective. It’s like it uses a different part of the brain.

    For me, flow just takes practice. The more I write the more cadence appears. However, my somewhat incomplete English skill-set also held me back. Until I knew all the ways to use modifying phrases, going beyond the mere addition of simple subordinate clauses to the beginning or end of the sentence, adding to my repertoire the ability to chain modifiers into more complex sentences, I was unable to create suitably artistic sentences to express my ideas*.

    *Sorry about the self-indulgent sentence.

    One thing I have noticed in my writing group is that, with a good cadence, an author can write a sentence of fifty or sixty words and no one will bat an eye, while a thirty word sentence with a weak cadence will unfavorably affect readers. For instance, the first paragraph of Joseph Heller’s Something Happened as a ~80 (I tried to count it but my phone rang in the middle) word sentence which just flies by.

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