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A Book About 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

By Gary Provost, an American writer and writer instructor

Do you know this famous quote about the rhythm of writing?

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.

And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

Showing, not telling. I love this quote.

I’ve found it in blogs, writing courses and webinars, but I didn’t know it was from Gary Provost’s “100 Ways to Improve Your Writing— a useful book I started reading yesterday.

Well-written and funny, too.

I think you should read (or reread) it.

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.