How to incorporate tone, rhythm & voice in your writing

A powerful force in writing is the imagery of sound.

Editors tell us to "make it sing." Good sentences are said to have a "rhythm." Our lead strikes the "right note," creating just the right "tone" for the rest. We put something near the end of the story to "echo" the lead. We encourage writers (and editors) to read stories aloud to see if they "sound" right.

Most important, we add up all these musical effects and render a decision about whether the writer has a distinctive "voice."

These are all metaphors, of course, but the cluster of them suggests a need to focus our attention on the music that is in our writing (or missing from it). Replay the chat below to learn more about how to do this.

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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