The Glass Asylum: The Write Rhythm

I’ve been thinking about rhythm today. (Along with a bunch of other things, some of which are unmentionable, but that’s my dirty mind and none of your beeswax.) Life has rhythm. The seasons, the sea, the passage of your day. Music. Traffic. The beat of your heart, your every waking breath. All rhythm.

But do you ever think about the rhythm of a book? The rise and fall of action, reaction, rest, and repeat. It’s there — in every chapter, every scene, and, if the book’s really good, every sentence, every word. There are the staccato notes of fear and anger. There’s the slow, even rise and fall of love and lovemaking that speeds and rises to its apex, and then…pauses…peaks….

…and crashed down in ever widening, and slowing waves of emotion…and motion. There is quiet. There is storm.

This weekend I’ve been plotting The Glass Asylum, the sequel to Girl Under Glass. And part of that process for me is understanding and charting the rhythm of the book — its sections, its chapters, scenes, pages, and, when I begin writing in earnest, every single sentence and word and syllable.

Open your favorite book. Pick a random page and begin reading aloud. Can you feel the rhythm? Yeah? Meee too.

  • What a fabulous, fabulous post!

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Thanks, Mom! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😀

  • The rhythm of your writing is one of the things I most enjoy about it. Even in this post the rhythm is evident, and wonderful.

    I think you have a better grip of the rhythm of the piece prior to writing it, while I discover the rhythm in mine during revisions. It’s there, but yours comes from a more calculated perspective up front, and mine is not put their consciously (but again in revisions I pay attention to it.)

    Nicely said.

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      Thanks, hon!
      I find that figuring out the rhythm when I’m plotting helps me see where the patterns of action/reaction/rest need to fall and, most importantly, where I have gaps or need to give the reader a break.
      You’ll be proud of me; I’m completely plotting The Glass Asylum, scene-by-scene prior to starting. It’s sooo hard not to dive in (and, I admit, I’ve written a few rough chapters/scenes), but I’m hoping to have the 1st draft complete by the end of October! o.O

  • So true – but often so hard to gauge as a writer I find! Because we necessary write more slowly than anyone will ever read, I found it was easy to slip into the trap of thinking that the rhythm was too slow…

    • Monica Enderle Pierce

      It *is* hard to gauge rhythm when the words are in your mind. Do you read aloud? I find that’s one of the most useful tools in getting cadence right. And then, if you think about what’s happening in the scene, you can hear where the sentences and even syllables need to be short and angry or long and languid. Reading your book aloud should be like reading poetry. You just *know* when you’re hitting all the right beats. Thanks for commenting and liking! 😀