Thursday, 18 March 2010

Creativity and the Writer - Part 2

Yesterday, we discussed how to be creative with words and using the shapes and sounds of words to challenge the reader. Today, we will discuss:

1) The atmosphere of words - words carry and atmosphere with them. For example, we can use the word 'walk' or the word 'stroll' or the word 'perambulate' and though they mean similar things, they have a different effect. Walk is boring... stroll is modern whereas perambulate gives a grander more old-fashioned feeling. Effect.

In your novel what you write can change the effect. For example, if a single character ends a letter with 'Your sincerely,' you get a different effect than if he later writes 'hugs and kisses,' or ' Warmest regards.' The character can use language to get across a different message. Ah, the English language is grand, is it not?

2) The rhythm of words - this is important because it can make or break a novel.

For example, I used to study computer languages and examined many books written on the subject. Why did I pick one book over the other? Often, thanks to the modern amazon invention of 'look inside the book', it was because of the read. PHP could be a very boring or difficult subject to read about or it could be made interesting... what's the difference? Usually the writer. I good writer will learn the rhythm of words.

Why so important? Look at history. The first literature we've had as humans were often written to percussion... to rhythm. We remember lyrics better than chunks of prose. Rhythm affects our mode and pace and our relationships with others. We could write sentences that are five or six pages long but we would lose readers fast - we need rhythm to match what were reading.

When reading a fast action scene, we want  to read like were running, like we have adrenaline running through us. We make our sentences shorter.

When reading of love, we slow down, savor the words, whisper the words to ourselves. We want them to talk to eternity about love and will listen to long flowing flowery sentences.

Try to use these two devices to your advantage when writing.

Source: The Writer's Way


Laura said...

Great blogs, my friend. Enjoyed both parts very much.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks, Laura. I'm glad you're liking my blogs.


Kit Courteney said...

Ditto what Laura said.

When family stress gets in the way (and has been for a while now) I find it very difficult to get in the right head space for writing/editing, but it's posts like these that help to lure me back :0)

Elspeth Futcher said...

I've always been very aware of each character's rhythms when I'm writing. Some choose long words, some short. Some are brief, some verbose. Since my WiP is written from several POVs these choices affect everything - from conversation to description.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Kit, that's why I also follow writing blogs. What a boost everyday.

Elspeth, I agree. I too use different POVs and need to change rhythms.

Thanks for the comments.