Writing That Sounds Right

Write with rhythm, use alliteration in word phrases, listen to your words.  Sometimes it takes reading out loud to “hear” your written words and determine if the dialog sounds too formal, too stilted or is natural sounding to the ear.

Some tips we can all follow to improve our writing technique from the WriterMag.com as suggested by Jack Hamann.

Vary pace; create space. Great orators employ pregnant pauses and selective silences to underscore essential points. When writing, try to bookend longer sentences with short, rhythmic declarations, creating openings for emphasis and meaning. Too stilted. Too bland. Too predictable.

Treasure thy thesaurus. Some words simply sound more interesting than others. I open my thesaurus (from thēsauros, Greek for “storehouse” or “treasure”) and cycle through synonyms. Sly storylines duck down unexpected alleys.

 Appreciate alliteration. Sometimes scorned, alliteration has its place. Choosing among adjectives, I tend to adopt those that share initial sounds. Alliterative pairs help make key phrases memorable and – if not overdone – fun to read and to read out loud. Scan spines. Pop-up picture books. Colorful cardboard stories.

Or not to be. Scan drafts of your writing and destroy most conjugants of “to be.” Is, was and their kin suck energy and sound bland. Substitute verbs to inspire fresh phrasings. 

 Ax articles. You can also jettison superfluous articles, especially, whenever possible the. Stripped of unnecessary formality, sentences sound approachable. 

 Pare prepositions. Prepositional phrases dim adjectives’ immediacy and dull their authority. Why add of thein thefrom thewith the, when sliding adjectives next to nouns sounds better? 

Snoopy graphic is licensed under CC BY-SA

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Nancy M. Wade

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