Lesson 11

Lesson 11

A Lesson by Tantra Bensko

Ending syllables


Look at a story you wrote and notice how the endings of the sentences sound. If you want to make a strong impact, the last syllable in the last word is best emphasized. Otherwise, it sort of trails off, seems weak, unfinished. That's fine, if that's what you're going for, and not the most important part of your writing. But when it comes to the last sentence, it matters a lot. If you want to get the sense the story is finished, and completion has occurred, end it on a strong syllable.

If you want to get across that there is ambiguity, dissociation, waiting, confusion, softness, drifting away -- then the last syllable is best to be unemphasized.

So, fickle, unorthodox, rambunctious --- those words are unemphasized.
Relent, delete, Matterhorn --- those last syllables are emphasized.

This goes for any literary fiction.

Now: Try writing a story in which the last syllables of each sentence are the ones which are emphasized. Make the sentences short. Use some fragments. Make most words somewhat short. See how that affects what you say and how it comes out. What kind of mood does it create?

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Added on March 19, 2013
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Tantra Bensko
Tantra Bensko

Berkeley, CA

I teach fiction writing through UCLA Ex. Writing Program, and my own academy online where I focus on Experimental Writing, which I also teach through Writers College when I have time. I have nearly 20..