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How Do You Develop New Rhythm and Styles? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
My own personal process:

Imagine I'm sat with some bongos. I'm playing the rhythm that's my own. It's hardwired into my subconscious and I can play it with my eyes closed at this point. But supposing I want to test drive another rhythm? Who's rhythm? If I draw on myself, the rhythm will inevitably end up being the rhythm I always use. So, I take the main character and imagine how they'd play the bongos.

At first that rhythm is all over the place. My hands fight me to return to the rhythm familiar to me. Rather than allowing that to happen, I place down placeholder words and phrases, just to keep the new rhyme flowing. I can usually get close to learning the new rhythm after a couple of pages. Until then, it's a fight between myself and the protagonist. I always let the protagonist win.

Once I've got that rhythm more or less nailed, I consider style, and just like rhythm, I ask myself: how would the protagonist write this? They'd use different words, different phrases, different metaphors, similes etc. Those are all informed by the personality I've imbued the main character with. This new layer is then layered over the first two pages and tightened until it resembles something close to decent.

This is also informed by genre. I often go on YT and listen to a good reading of a particular voice: Fantasy, horror, children's stories, detective novels etc. before I start the process. My main structure of thinking is Genre (YT vids), rhythm (genre+protag), style. (genre+protag).

The big test is then just to let it flow and see what happens. If it flows naturally, result, if it falters and loses the rhythm/style, repeat the process from the beginning.

Each new voice then offers up unique puzzles to solve, and solving them adds more to my arsenal for when I eventually return to the familiar rhythm naturally mine. I've set myself a year before I return to that.

So, what is your method?
 
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bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
So, what is your method?

I bought a drum machine.

No, I'm kidding. My stories tend to start with a character. They have a ready personality, a way of speaking, some motivations and likes. So any beat and flow comes from that. Where does that character come from? Who knows. Stuff. They come from stuff;)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I bought a drum machine.

No, I'm kidding. My stories tend to start with a character. They have a ready personality, a way of speaking, some motivations and likes. So any beat and flow comes from that. Where does that character come from? Who knows. Stuff. They come from stuff;)

I wish I could do it that easily. :( I find it really hard to break those inherent rhythms and styles.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Basically then, you're doing the same as me. At least now I know I'm not alone in letting the protagonist inhabit me. I thought I was weird ...

Mine comes out in dialogue. When I start a dialogue, I know the reason for the conversation to move the story along, but I don't have the dialogue plotted out. The more I've written the character, the easier it is to have them 'be themselves'. In my (so far) two fantasy novels, much of the action centers around a young man and a young sorceress. It's gotten to where I look forward to their conversations, because they become so much fun to write. He's down to earth, responsible, and competent. She's more clever than him, with an often playful banter. I have no idea what they're specifically going to say until one responds to the other.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Mine comes out in dialogue. When I start a dialogue, I know the reason for the conversation to move the story along, but I don't have the dialogue plotted out. The more I've written the character, the easier it is to have them 'be themselves'. In my (so far) two fantasy novels, much of the action centers around a young man and a young sorceress. It's gotten to where I look forward to their conversations, because they become so much fun to write. He's down to earth, responsible, and competent. She's more clever than him, with an often playful banter. I have no idea what they're specifically going to say until one responds to the other.

That part is so much fun isn't it! I would say, from my own experience, dialogue is one of the most spontaneous parts of story writing.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Same as breaking in new leather shoes, I imagine.

You walk around until things fit right. Once you've got the pinches worked out and things stop squeaking when you move, you go back and read what's already written and adjust as needed.

But I'm odd.
 
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