We’ve all seen that person at a party, haven’t we?
The music goes on and they try to ‘get with the rhythm’ but they make some strange shapes that are just out of synch. And you realise quite quickly, they really don’t feel it and whatever they do, they still miss the beat!
Getting great rhythm
It’s the same when you write and you want to get noticed, you need to get a good sense of timing and pace. The rhythm of your writing is as important as its content if you want to successfully get a message across.
Because, if what you say doesn’t ‘sound’ quite right to your audience, they just won’t continue to engage with your writing.
Read your copy aloud to yourself and you’ll hear it immediately – then edit out anything that doesn’t chime with your ‘sound’.
How do you do it?
Use short sentences when possible but don’t keep them too uniform, break up the metre to keep people engaged. Try a rule of around 16 to 24 words each when you can do, but don’t be too self conscious -just like when you dance!
You also need to let yourself break loose a little
Maybe. A. Little. Key. Change.
– but try not to wander too far from your bassline. It’s the core of your writing, the underlying metre, you’ll hear it when you read the whole piece aloud.
You could also use breaks in the rhythm for impact, it depends on the tone that you want to convey. Perhaps you want the piece to build to a crescendo – or use staccato words or phrases for effect.
It’s really all about structure and timing and how to make a pattern from stressed and unstressed syllables.
Don’t forget to draw breath!
But do create enough breaks to let a reader ‘draw breath’ and take a quick pause at appropriate points. In the same way as music you sometimes need spaces, to make it flow well and catch people’s attention.
And like when you dance, its quite hard to describe it but you just know yourself – when you’ve hit the right beat!