The Soundtrack - Tom Bernstein
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The Soundtrack

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” 

-Elmore Leonard


This is one of my favorite quotes about writing (from one of my favorite writers) and one I always try to adhere to. My editor, who also happens to be my daughter, Melissa, often corrects me on grammar and usage, and most often she is right. But sometimes following the rules destroys the tempo of the story. Descriptive passages have a steady beat, quiet moments slow down, and tense ones speed up. At times the cadence may stumble a bit to intentionally create an awkwardness, an uncertain feeling, but the rhythm should always be there like an invisible soundtrack that is sensed rather than heard. Tap your foot, nod your head, listen to your heartbeat. Feel the story.


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