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I once shared that piece of writing advice on TikTok and it went viral, and then I saw another dude share it and it also went viral, so he created an online tool (https://writhm.io/) where you can input your writing to see if it has that 'rhythm'. None of my work did, and I don't think that makes it bad writing. I realised that a lot of my favourite writing features long sentences and I've written very few two-word sentences. I don't want to structure my writing based on someone else's rules for syntax rather than its own substance and my own style. I have been skeptical ever since (and slightly embarrassed about my own unquestioning sharing of it).

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Don’t be embarrassed you learned something!

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Jun 4Liked by Henry Oliver

miffed Henry is a fun Henry. very good. also, this makes me want to watch The Producers (I know, I know)

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Haha yes he can be—I only saw it recently and it’s so funny I nearly burst a kidney

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Jun 4Liked by Henry Oliver

I'm glad you "called out" that writing advice post that gets slavered over anytime it appears. I think people need to be very careful equating music and writing, but are rarely careful, hence throw around terms like "harmony" very lazily. Screeds have been written on harmony in music, but what does it mean in writing? Maybe the faintest echo. But to shove it in to writing advice makes it sound like you are providing tools far more profound than they really are. Variable sentence lengths somehow having a similar impact to harmony in music? I just want to say "get real"!

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So agree it’s fake profound

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Haven't read the Esquire article. I agree that the first step in publishing success must involve writing something very good. However, I don't think it follows that the publishing industry and wider ecosystem is any sort of meritocracy. Sometimes, very fortunately, good novels get the attention and readership they deserve. But I think quite a lot of luck is involved also. On the Road is excellent - I love it - but it also had the good fortune to crest that counter-cultural wave. In another time it might've been dismissed as the ramblings of a rootless vagrant.

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There’s a good article to be written on that theme but this wasn’t it! If she had cited one, or a few, great novels that deserved more attention, I’d have been less grumpy about it. It was a whine about careerism not a serious piece of literary analysis.

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Jun 3Liked by Henry Oliver

Fun collection of essays! Cheers!

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