‘Being in the zone‘ is something I believe we are all familiar with, be it in regards to writing or even cooking; there is a point when you harmonize with your task at hand, and effort seemingly melts away.
So, whilst this certainly applies to our state of being, I think it is also something which should apply to those who read our work, and it is our responsibility to make this the case.
After all, if our stories do not flow in their intended way, don’t they become hard to follow?
Why it matters to me
I honestly noticed this when reading someone else’s work, and whilst I am not here to post criticism, I do have to talk about it.
When I work on my story Dawn of Eternity, I try to feel a flow throughout the individual words, building into sentences, into paragraphs and then the scene as a whole; for me, the flow of a piece provides movement, and that takes away effort on the readers behalf.
So when reading the work of others, either in draft or not, this is something I personally pick up on – is it present or not? When flow is not present, I feel that the story backtracks across it’s sentences and repetition creeps in, taking away from the experience.
I am not professing to be perfect by any means, but one thing that I believe is of fundamental assistance is the development of our personal lexicon.
The right wording, as obvious as it may seem, can drastically change the flow of a sentence and beyond. Consider the fact that some languages are termed ‘romantic’, and now think about what romantic means to you?
Is it a free flowing, open experience, or something rigid and unmoving?
When I read something that does not have flow, it is rigid, with harsh breaks between moments that upset my inner pace.
More over, as someone who writes and enjoys Gothic fiction, this is the total opposite of how this genre should be portrayed – romance is an integral part of it.
Just remember though: no amount of quality wording will overcome poor punctuation!
How then can we try to maximise this element of our writing?
- Quite simply, I think the easiest thing to begin with is a thesaurus.
If we were all telepathic we would not need words, as everything would be communed instantly, but also in that process would be emotion, intent and experience.
Words have to do this in their very limited (in comparison) way, which is why we have so many of them; have you ever wondered why we have different words for the same thing?
Try to think of a moment in life where things felt like they were adding up just right, and when you read your work, do you get that feeling too?
If not, look at the synonyms for the words you have used; consider the difference in syllables and even the letters they begin with. I would highly recommend checking out Cradle of Filth lyrics as an example of this.
- Take a break from what you are writing and come back to it later, even through a different medium, such as a phone or tablet. Taking yourself out of the moment for a while will refresh your mind, and things will often stick out much easier this way.
- Have other people read and give feedback, and don’t be afraid to face the negatives.
You might think something you have written is great, but for others, they might actually struggle. This is what I experienced when reading a friends work.
I’m going to leave this article here because it could go on forever, but hopefully you can see my perspective.
The flow of your work can make or break it, but very simple things can determine this.
Check your wording, check the relationships of the words, and just remember to review it!