Consider the dots and dashes in the rhythm of writing.
Professor Brooks Landon, in his Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft course, identified the importance of rhythm, and its ability to vary the pace of a sentence by using phrases or a word within the cumulative sentence. For instance, the previous sentence could be mapped out like morse code’s dots and dashes. It would look like this: dash-dash-dash-dash-dash. Here are some examples from a few books I pulled off the shelf at home, with the first example being cited by Professor Landon in the course.
“Slenderly, languidly, their hands set lightly on their hips the two young women preceded us out onto a rosy-colored porch, open toward the sunset, where four candles flicked on the table in the diminished wind.” The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
dot – dot – dash – dash – dash – dash
“Afterwords, instead of the baptism, Father lured people down as near he could get them to the river by means of the age-old method of a church supper.” The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
dot – dash – dash
“On the rare occasions when I removed my slap at all, I just threw a lump of cold cream at my face, like a potter throwing wet clay onto a wheel, and swirled it round with the palm of my hand as if I was cleaning a window.” Rachel’s Holiday,Marian Keyes
dash – dash – dash – dash
“Later, below the town, I watched the snow falling, looking out of the window of the bawdy house, the house for officers, where I sat with a friend and two glasses drinking a bottle of Asti, and, looking out at the snow falling slowly and heavily, we knew it was all over for that year.” A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
dot – dash – dash – dash – dash – dash – dot – dash – dash
The above examples are just a few variations. Seeing the dots and dashes, especially by well-known authors, and their writing rhythms, and their intricacies, has the potential to unlock our own rhythms, and their ability to inspire others, to write.