I’ve been writing a lot of short fiction recently – character studies and microplots and things from a dozen different perspectives – and one of the things that’s been most interesting to work on is cadence. It’s part and parcel of syntax, of course, and I’ve always put sentences together a little weirdly. Sometimes it’ll take me a couple passes before I can get something that reads fine and concise to me to parse to anything meaningful at all to other readers.

Part of this is that I learned French as a written language before English, and narrative and dialog have always been very different creatures to me. Dialog just needs to sound like people talk, and I can do that. Narrative needs its own flow, needs to be interspersed with enough dialog, needs to convey information and move plot along without getting mired in itself.

It’s the cadence of narrative that I’ve been working on, how quickly or slowly or trippingly different stories need to go. Re-ordering sentences in ways that do nothing to improve clarity is a new thing for me, but it’s been necessary in working on cadence.

Maddeningly, I’ve so far not found a way to work on cadence that doesn’t involve revision and paying attention. It’s almost like writing is something that requires effort.

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