I am always surprised by my own reaction to fiction. I, of course, have rather strong preferences on content, and I am sure that I gravitate towards style similar to that with which I, myself, write. But when I pay attention to the little things that make or break a read for me, I see a definite theme.
I need the words to roll into one another well. They need more than meaning; they need rhythm. There has to be more than a good story; I need a good storyteller. I was reading what appears to be a great little book on writing last night, and Noah Lukeman put my feelings into perfect words.
If you strike the right notes on a piano and let them reverberate, you will, if you listen very closely, hear the “waves” beneath the music. Musical notes do not, as most people think, ring steadily; they reverberate in tiny waves, always growing louder and softer. The same holds true of prose: beneath the text there lurks a wave of sound, one that must always be monitored, tempered.
Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages
I always knew that some books were meant to be read aloud, and some just weren’t, but it was an interesting revelation to note how much I prefer those that lend themselves to voice. Now to reflect that in my own writing…