Rhythms, beats, movement: Literature & Music - the Power of Sound

It goes without saying that just like a song, prose has a flow, a rhythm, a certain musicality to it. Or, if it doesn't somehow, it won't work out too well for the author. Capturing the perfect note between scene and sequel, narrative and dialogue, characters and plot, are all a dance...a dance that is set to music.


Capturing the perfect mix of ingredients in fiction is akin to composing a symphony, or a four minute pop song, depending on the length of your prose. And underneath all this, beneath the subterfuge of all the bells and whistles of colorful verbiage, twisty plots, and memorable characters, is a pervasive rhythm. The rhythm is there, one way or another. If too slow, readers lose interest. If too fast, readers can't keep track and can feel overwhelmed. Regardless, make no mistake, it's there, and readers are taking note. If a rollercoaster of tempo we sometimes feel the ebb and flow of the story. If moving at a breakneck speed with no rest period the adrenalin stays high throughout, and we can tire after awhile. If too slow, we find our eyelids drooping, our pulse rate lowering, and before we know it, we're dreaming. Unfortunately not of the characters and plot of the work we've presented though, they've left our world of fiction to go elsewhere. Ouch, the big "no no." As John Gardner so aptly said, and I'm paraphrasing here of course: "we must keep our readers in the fictive dream at all times."


We think of movie soundtracks as well, helping tell our story through sonic means. Saturday Night Fever, Star Wars, and so many other golden age and modern films have utilized songs and composition as tools that have captivated us along with the visual imagery on screen.


I'm a big fan in general of all types of music: Jazz, Pop, R&B, Reggae, Latin, Classical, Rap, and on and on. I'm a fan of so many different types of music, artists, and bands, that it would take a lot of space to mention them all.


In some ways I feel my stories could be set to a noir-esque Jazz groove, sultry, mysterious. Other times, maybe classic rock, or blues. It's a lot of fun to imagine the combinations.


In the end, the musicality is what brings your prose to life, the backdrop to vibrant characters, a cool setting, and a strong plot. Having the right beats in place will insure that your story is well-received, that you make a big impression on your readers, and that ultimately, the song will remain in their memories, oft repeated, and never forgotten.




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