Making Prose Poetic

Writing can sing. Writing can soar. How do writers elevate their craft to carry you along with their words? I've never known, until I read this:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.

—Gary Provost in "Make Every Word Count" quoted by Tim Casasola in Why does writing matter in remote work?

As a programmer, I see this as a problem to solve!

Why not make a web tool that takes your prose and stylizes each sentence based on the number of syllables. Make the rhythms visible. I could do, a guy like me. Why not a guy like me?

See also


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