If your mind’s ear isn’t trained to listen as you write—if you can’t hear the rhythm unfolding with ease or pinpoint the phrases that trip up your tongue—I recommend you read aloud from quality literature as often as possible. Let the masters fill your head with memorable prose. You could analyze their techniques, or simply read line after line until you can feel what works.
If for some reason you cannot read aloud, try audio books. The more you hear masterful prose, the more you’ll be able to tell when yours is working…or isn’t.
[G]ood writers train their mind’s ear to listen to their own prose—to hear as they write.
— Ursula Le Guin, Steering the Craft
Source: This and many other memorable Ursula Le Guin quotes can be found in Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, by Ursula K. Le Guin (updated and available in a new edition: Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story).
You might also enjoy:
- Ursula Le Guin on Adjectives and Adverbs
- Ursula Le Guin on what interests prose writers
- Browse the growing collection of Writing Quotes
Image design by Isabelle Kroeker.
Sure, you can poke around the Internet collecting writing prompts and creative writing exercises.
Or you could buy an ebook that collects them for you in one place.