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Sonic Writing: Do Your Words Sing Sweet Music or

Words and sounds are intertwined, and over the years, each language has built a bank of practices

This is true whether you are writing punchy ad copy, informative articles, or epic fantasy novels

“When I’m writing, I’m more conscious of the sound, actually, than the meaning

I know what the rhythm of the sentence is going to be before I know what the

Learning to employ sonic writing techniques at the optimal time can create magic — drawing attention, creating a

But all of us must consider sound as we put one word after another

Nobody wants to read that! Writers should learn to avoid machine gun sentences

Avoiding long, academic-sounding words can be a benefit, but watch out for too many single-syllable words in

Have a look at this example: ❌ This text tries to show you how to make your words

Takeaway point: vary the length of the words in your sentences

When we speak, we can arrange sounds and amend the speed of our reading to include regular

However, in writing, we can think more carefully about the most pleasing order of sounds

I wandered lonely as a cloud (oOoOoOoO) That floats on high o’er vales and hills (oOoOoOoO)

I was quite lonely, like a cloud in the sky — OoOOoOoOooO That floats high above the hills

Of course, using an even rhythm throughout a piece of writing will seem strange to the reader

It’s best to keep stress patterns varied and draw attention to particular points through the use

Occasionally, you may need to add short words which are not essential to the meaning of the

This can contrast with shorter, more impactful statements or more intense sections with tightly-packed stress patterns

Takeaway point: Read writing aloud to catch any awkward rhythms and consider choosing cadences to match the

However, they also enjoy slower, more thoughtful passages, which allow them to ponder the meaning of what

This means using shorter sentences at the beginning and end of paragraphs, and longer sentences in the

It’s best to add heavier details in the middle before concluding with impact

❌ This report will outline the findings from our author questionnaire

The survey was sent to our top-earning international clients

There are recommendations included for next year’s author-relation policies

The aim of this annual report is to gauge the satisfaction of our top-earning international clients and

The data has been broken into five sections and includes recommendations on possible changes to client management

And don’t forget about the other major speed control for your writing — punctuation

Consider that each punctuation mark affects reading speed in a different way

Including sensory information is one of the easiest ways to transform flat text into an engaging read

Allowing the listener to ‘hear’ the words on the page makes writing come alive

When using words like these, consider pairing them with something unexpected

One way to employ this sonic writing technique is to use consonance (similar-sounding consonants in close proximity)

Alternatively, use dissonance (contrasting sound palettes) to reflect contrasts in the narrative, to disrupt the flow, or

This technique can even liven up business emails and add urgency to sales copy

Of course, I would warn against stuffing your text with these sound techniques

Takeaway point: before using these techniques, identify key areas of the text where you need to draw

These are the instances where readers ‘trip over’ phrases which are tricky to pronounce or include unintended

Unless you want to draw attention to the deeper meaning of the sentence, sound techniques become a

❌ There are multiple methods for maintaining military records

❌ Applying for training funding can lead to frustration and exhaustion

Takeaway point: check your texts carefully for unintentional sound techniques and awkward pairings