Prose is Poetry Too

A firm rejection of some very common writing advice.

Image by Bernd Flickenschild from Pixabay

…if an extra word fails to change the meaning of a sentence, but improves its rhythm or flow, I say stick with it.

There are no universally applicable standards for determining how good writing must be constructed. It is fruitless to attempt to formulate such standards and foolish to inflexibly enforce them. Whenever we try to do so, we find that some great writing clearly breaks these rules. Yet it remains great writing, so the fault must lie with the rules.

Rhythm and flow matter.

When you add supposedly unnecessary words to a sentence, you may or may not be enhancing its meaning, but you sure as hell can be changing its rhythm and its flow. And I happen to think that rhythm and flow are very important.

..sadly, some editors simply have a tin ear for poetry.

Admittedly, some dictionaries (but not all) do specifically define prose and poetry as two distinct forms of literature. I think it’s probably better, however, to think of prose as its own form of poetry. It’s still supposed to have rhythms and a flow. You just have to produce those rhythms and that flow within the rules of grammar: within the restriction of using properly formatted sentences.

As a writer, your ‘voice’ is a critical part of who you are.

Good writing should never be defined as something that conforms to an inflexible set of style rules. It’s not a construction project. It’s art.

A writer needs a voice.

As a writer, your rhythm and your flow are key parts of what gives you your distinctive ‘voice.’ You have a personal style, a way of phrasing things, a signature. And your ‘inefficiencies’ are part of your ‘voice’ and part of what humanises your writing.

Tech Fan, Philosopher, Economist and Basic Income advocate.

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