Friday, January 28, 2011

GOT RHYTHM? (Guest Patti Lacy And Book Giveaway!!!)

Go, baby, go, baby, go! Don’t upset
the rhythm, though!” (The Noisettes)

“Get rhythm when you get the blues.It only costs a dime, just a nickel a shoe. Does a million dollars worth of good for you.”(Johnny Cash)

Musicians sing about rhythms. Artists capture it on canvas. How can we writers find rhythm on the “long and winding road” to publication? (Thanks, Beatles!)

I’ve snippeted rhythm definitions from our friend Webster. We’ll use FOUR of the dear man’s points to explore that elusive rhythm right here at Seekerville!!!

1. Ordered recurrent alternation of strong & weak elements in the flow of sound & silence

2. Aspect of music comprising all elements (accent, meter, and tempo) that relate to forward movement

3. The repetition in a literary work of phrase, incident, character type, or symbol

4. A regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process.

Let’s tackle Webster’s points, one by one.

1. Ordered recurrent alternation of strong & weak elements in the flow of sound & silence

Variety in writing breaks up the road trip of a novel! My interpretation of Webster’s first point? Follow a long, winding road description with a dead-end, wham-in-your-facer decision by your heroine! Here's a scene from my latest release The Rhythm of Secrets that illustrates what I mean:

Evening had fallen on the shaded part of the courtyard. Dew slicked mossy bricks. Ready for their night light, moonflowers opened wide, dotting the back wall with fragile white blooms. The scent of jasmine and mint hung in the air. The branches of an oleander bush drooped toward lush green grass. Nature held its breath, waiting, waiting. But Sheba wasn’t waiting another second. Blood throbbing at her temples, she unfolded the letter.

In this early scene from The Rhythm of Secrets, nature’s languid mood contrasts with Sheila’s desire to rip open the mystery letter Father has left on the patio table. Strong verbs complete with subtler sensory words. Rhythm? Hey, I tried!

For scenes exploding with emotion, rage, passion, intensify dialogue. Cut the rhythm of speech to FIVE WORDS OR LESS PER READING BEAT (read aloud and discover where you take a breath) if at all possible☺

Sock em’ with talk, then rock ’em with characters’ mindset and visceral reactions (Thank you, Camy Tang, for this lesson!).

Mimi leaned back, her face gray. “Of course you want my money. You’re just like your mother, the harlot.”

A gust of wind rippled the back door screen, swirled through Sheila, and impelled her to lean across the table. Her fists knotted. “How dare you say that about Maman?”

“Because it’s true.”

The table edge knifed into Sheila’s belly. She stretched toward Mimi until she could see every pore on her grandmother’s ashen face. “Don’t you dare say that about my mother.”

Mimi’s spine became a rod. “Why? It’s time you knew the truth.” Her mouth twisted into a sneer. “Your mother worked at a flophouse called Birdie’s. She was nothing but a two-bit—”

“No!” Flashes of light dazzled the room. “I don’t believe it!” Sheila grabbed Mimi’s sleeve, Mimi’s hand—anything to stop this. Her mother had refinement. Poise. Culture. Mimi was lying!

“You will when I get through.” Mimi’s lips stretched taught against lined cheeks.

Sheila gritted her teeth. Shoved away from the table. Straightened. Why, Mimi enjoyed this!

Another suggestion: Avoid time tags, like “a long minute,” “after awhile.” Instead use action (flashes of light dazzling, the spine becoming a rod.) They’ll swallow irritating road blocks and let the reader intuit passage of seconds, minutes, or hours, without a break of rhythm.

2. the aspect of music comprising all the elements (accent, meter, tempo) that relate to forward movement.

Music INSPIRES the flow of my words…and helps our reader-driver detours (a la tossing our novel on the floor!) Have you experimented with moody blues? Rule-breaking jazz? The delightful mathematics of classical literature? The circle-of-friendship feel of folk? The climaxes and depths of hymns, spirituals? The pulse of rap?

French love song, sonnets, waltzes capture the rhythm of this scene in The Rhythm of Secrets:

He let go of her hand. Turned away. Strides smoothed into a lope that rippled his back and led him to a series of dunes, separated by sloping grassy areas. She followed, stopping only to shove hair out of her eyes. She had to see every inch of him.

His swim trunks flapped against his legs as he darted between two golden mounds of sand. The only sounds were a faint whoosh of the surf and the clicking of sea oat shafts as they rubbed against one another.

She slipped as she pounded up the steep incline, only to slide backward in the powdery sand. He reached out and pulled her up and over the crest of the dunes. Gritty fingers covered her eyes, led her through a sea of sand.

“I’ve got a surprise, sugarplum.” A ground clove smell blended with pungent salty sea spray to intoxicate her. She staggered into his arms…

3. The repetition in a literary work of phrase, incident, character type, or symbol

I LOVE repetition, both metaphorically and through alliteration and repeats of words and thoughts. Not one but TWO fires horrify Sheila in The Rhythm of Secrets. At novel onset, fire acts as a destructive force. At the climax, fire cleanses and allows my Sheila to start anew.

Interweave repetition in your scenes through word patterns. Events. People.

“I hoped we could have dinner. Friday night. Do you know a place?”

She closed her eyes to concentrate. He had such a lovely voice!

“Ma’am? A place?”

His business-like tone muffled her heart music. She’d best gather her wits. “Y-yes.” She cleared her throat to stall for time. Somewhere discreet. Out-of-the-way.” “Yes,” she repeated, “Etienne’s.” Her voice sounded shivery, distant. Like it belonged to someone else. And wasn’t she somebody else? Three somebodys?

Repetition, not only of the question by Sheila’s mystery caller, but of Sheila’s rattled “Yes” answer, establishes Sheila’s shock. I also used slight alliteration of the “s” sound because to me “ssssss” connotes mystery. Action. (I know. I’m weird. Blame it on all those solitary hours at my keyboard☺) What’s cool is you can use music and wordplays to find rhythms in YOUR writer’s voice. Fun! Fun!

The obvious repetition in the above scene is Sheila’s reference to being somebody else. Hopefully those thoughts heighten mystery. Hint at conflict. Elements that make our readers travel through your pages!

It’s almost time to leave Seekerville. Shoot! I love it here. My last point has NOTHING to do with the mechanics of writing. No, I’m not digressing THAT far! It has everything to do with rhythms...

4. a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process.

Last week I received an e-mail from a promising young writer:

I'm a little discouraged right now. Ok, maybe a lot discouraged. I have not had time to write since before Christmas. Every time I have some free time I favor a nap instead. Being pregnant is exhausting! Everyone tells me it gets worse after the baby is born. I don't want to pause my writing for 18 years. Do you have kids? Were you writing at the time? If so, I'd love some pointers

Dear friends, I did not “pick up a pen” except to write embarrassing love letter, maudlin poetry, and boring master’s papers in my literature studies, until I was FIFTY!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

“To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn” (“Turn, Turn, Turn,” The Byrds)

Rhythms, dictating the Hand of God. Rhythms, adding a beat to this song. Rhythms—God has perfect ones for YOUR writing journey. I pray that you will grip that steering wheel and let God’s navigational system, whether it be a sleek new GPS device or a tattered old map, direct you to His perfect destination.

See y’all there!

Check out how I linked music with chapter themes at Music/Chapter Themes. For slices of my life, visit me at Patti Lacy's Website. Wanna know what’s been on my nightstand? Go to Patti's Nightstand.
The old Humanities instructor side of me posts daily ART BITES (paintings that inspire, enthuse, instruct and entertain) on Facebook! Friend me and join the fun!


  1. Hi Miss Patty,

    Who is the lovely companion at your side?

    I'm sending my best greetings and sniffs!

    This is KC...
    May wouldn't leave me alone until I let her say that!

    Great post and your book sounds so intriguing! You've given me lots to contemplate. :)

    Please enter may at maythe k9spy dot com

    PS: hey Vince, hope you are better!!!

    PPS - veri word is "graws" - a dog word if ever there was one!

  2. That post was full of energy and enthusiasm! Welcome to Seekerville Patti!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  3. I'm leaving out chocolate and caffeine. Helen will get coffee I'm sure.

    I'll reread this tomorrow when I'm coherent, but I did enjoy the snippets of the book there. Beats. Gotta have beats...

    Captcha is 'disto' - something so close to disco seems appropriate...

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  4. What a great review of Patty Lacy's "GOT RHYTHM" especially the Johnny Cash song excerpt. Great inspiration for a writer. I love reading Patty's books.
    rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

  5. I enjoyed the post. The book sounds very interesting and I love the use of repetition.

  6. Patti, welcome to Seekerville! Oh my stars, what a lovely thing to wake up to. Thank you! The cadence and flow of those words is just lovely. Great examples and I love how you mixed 'em up, because there was a different flow to each one.

    Great dog. I'm just sayin'.

    God bless that little expectant mother. She'll be writing living epistles for a while. (Lucy Maude Montgomery, totally stolen by me)

    I'm doing coffee this AM. And flavored creamers. Also a tea service donated by an English fan...

    You may choose from Earl Gray, Breakfast Time and Lemon Zinger.

    The tray of pastries is courtesy of Jackson' Bakery, one of those tucked-in-an-old-building places that does mobs of business. Sample these and you'll see why.

  7. Good Morning!

    Hey Patti!
    Love the b/w photo. Why is it black and white seems to give us more personality than color when it comes to capturing people?

    Anyway - a beautiful sample from Rhythm and a reminder why it's so easy to escape into your writing!

    happy FRIDAY everyone!

    Ruthy - Jackson's Bakery, huh?

  8. Good Morning Patti!! (LOVE your name, by the way *grin*---AND the spelling is just right!). Thank you so much for sharing these suggestions with us--I still have much to learn so I enjoy these learning posts (and I like your sense of humor too). ~ To go along with Ruthy's yummy pastries I brought some Georgia peach muffins--just baked! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo
    p.s. Your dog is precious!!! :)

  9. Wow, this place pulsates at SIX A.M.! Glad there's a few early birds like me!

    KC, that's Mario, one of my granddogs!!! Besides canine fever, we Lacys are infected with running! Another way to slow down fast brain rhythms. Yep, I'm infected with those, too!!! Mario's arfing at your May. Glad you get it!

    Eva Maria, what a lovely name! Talk about RHYTHM! Thanks for stopping by!

    Carol, girl, you've got the rhythm too! Even "incoherent!" Get that coffee, girl! I sure need mine!

    Rebecca, I LOVE Johnny Cash's lyrics...and just recently saw "Man in Black." My community college students LOVED discussing "Hurt" and couldn't believe what they learned from an "old man," as they said. Harumph!

    Thanks, Kathy. Glad you like repetition. It's not everyone's style, but I LOVE it!

    Ruth, wow! You get FOOD AND CAFFEINE here? Don't remember that from last time. Coffee, inky, laced with chicory. Yep, New Orleans style. THANK YOU for the encouragement for my writer baby. It just sounds better coming from two of us...

    Debra!!!! Great to see you here! don't you be escapin' too much! We need YOU working on your stuff:)
    Speaking of pictures, LOVE your FB I told you!!!

  10. Patti,

    I loved this post, and using music to find rhythm in writing. I always listen to music that goes with what I'm writing, and certain songs for scenes for inspiration and it always seems to help the story flow. I'm glad you mentioned eliminating time stamps from writing. This is something I've been working on in my own wip, and I notice the story and tempo are stronger.

    And the examples from your own book, WOW, it sounds wonderful!


  11. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJanuary 28, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Thanks for sharing the great tips Patty. What neat ways to add rhythm.

    Love the pics!



    HAPPY FANTABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! And it IS with Ms. Lacy here, a whole weekend ahead AND RHYTHM up the gazoo!!!!

    RUTHY ... thanks for setting up the buffet -- YUM -- and Patti Jo, peach muffins???? Are you woofin' me??? (That's dog talk, so you'll have to ask Mario what it means if you don't know). Peach is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE flavor in the world, so I'm on those muffins like white on rice (which I also love, by the way ... ).

    Anyway, GREAT post, my friend, and may the RHYTHM of everyone's weekend be music to your ears'!!


  13. Really enjoyed your post, Patti! As a musician, I think I've internalized some of what you're saying because it seems to come out in my writing, but I've never really dissected it that way before. Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing. You're book sounds amazing! Thanks for the chance to enter.

  14. Hey Marlo,

    Would they give a bite to well-mannered dogs, such as ourselves?

    Being a Schnauzer, I sing - and being a runner, you must dance beautifully. Meet me by the door. We can work on our act.

    You got rhythm, I got singin', they've got good eats, who could ask for anything more? (What shall we call ourselves?
    Sniffin' those Jackson and Georgia peach muffins works up an appetite. The coffee, not so much.)

    See you there.


  15. Patti, forgot to tell you that I will be gone ALL DAY and, regrettably, ALL NIGHT as it is hubby's birthday and I have MANY errands to run and then fun things to enjoy this PM, so I am sorry I won't be around to drive you crazy. But since you and I already know that you are halfway there already, you crazy girl, I'll leave well enough alone.

    I did want to say, however, that RHYTHM is one of my FAVORITE subjects in the world because for me, it is CRITICAL in my writing. Cadence and flow are IMPERATIVE to me when I write, and the sentences have to trip off the tongue with their own special rhythm, almost like a song in my head.

    I learned this the hard way when my first copy editor on A Passion Most Pure changed what seemed like 50% of the words in my book WITHOUT tracked changes, so I had NO idea until I started reading the galleys. I got a twitch or tic in my eye EVERY SINGLE TIME I hit a word or phrase or sentence she had changed. I had this one scene-ending line that I absolutely LOVED early on in the book, and that was my first clue when it was no longer there. Copy editors have a tough job to do, no question, but I was shocked to discover completely altered sentences, some new ones added and others deleted altogether, changing my chosen rhythm completely. I have a number of author friends who have confirmed she's an excellent copy editor, but for some reason, our styles (and rhythm!) did not click.

    Since I was a newbie, I thought I had no say in this, but my editor confirmed that my book was MY book and if I didn't agree with the copy editor, I could change everything back as long as it wasn't against my publisher's policy. It took me another four days to go through the manuscript and hand-write the correct copy back in, restoring the rhythm I wanted. The next three books were a breeze because I worked with another copy editor whose style more closely mirrored my own, so revisions and galleys are actually fun now, if you can believe that!!!

    Anyway, thanks for being here today, Patti, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND all of Patti's books, but especially Rhythm of Secrets because it is her latest and one of the best books I read in 2010 or ever, for that matter, and one of the few that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning, which is rare.


  16. Patti, peach muffins layered atop cranberry almond pancakes makes for one full writer:) Yep, we do breakfasts right here in Normal!
    Thanks for adding your melody to our Friday song! The Other Patti.

    Kirstin! Let me turn down Harry Chapin so I can "hear" you! Would love to know your list of Inspy music!

    Laura, that's a tambourine you're holding, isn't it? Great rhythms, girl! Thanks for stopping by!

    Waving at ya, Julie! We're only a few hours apart, ya know! Just a bridge and an Arch:) Thanks for inviting me to this great place!

    EMILY, tell me about your music. And you write, too!:) Jealousy green's tweedling my flute.
    Thanks for your skippety dippity doo tune. Have a blessed day!

    KC, you are not gonna BELIEVE this (or yes, you will) but I'm planning a dog protagonist for books 5 and 6. And did you hear about Ronie Kendig's new series? Yep. K-9s. I cannot WAIT!!!

  17. Hi, Patti!!! Waving enthusiastically at you! :-)

    This is a great post! I'm not surprised you were a Humanities instructor! I like your points, and I like that you weren't afraid to try something new at the age of fifty. Which isn't old at all, but you know what I mean. I know a woman who says she doesn't think people can change after the age of 30. I've always thought that was so sad for her! If I felt that way, I would be depressed all the time!

    Okay, am I rambling or what? Sorry! Anyway, I loved your post! I'm sorry I haven't read any of your books, Patti. I've heard awesome things about them, so I need to rectify that! Have a great day in Seekerville!

  18. Wow, what a great post! Thank you so much Patti! In college we always felt a firm line between poetry and prose writers, and I wish we hadn't (maybe our poetry professor didn't understand about rhythm in prose?). Some of my favorite novels have a wonderful rhythm - without rhythm a book might as well just be a list of words.

    Ruthy - I love the "writing living epistles" comment. What an image of what mothers do! I put off my writing until the children were older, too.

    I bet the Peach Muffins and Jackson pastries are all gone by now. Good thing I brought some blueberry muffins along!

  19. Patti,
    The music I use for inspiration mirrors the project I’m working on. My current wip is a western historical and one of the scenes is a stampede caused by a storm. The hero is trying to move with the stampede to keep from being trampled when he sees his thirteen year-old nephew frozen with fear and in the path of a hundred crazy hooves. While writing this scene I listened to Chris LeDoux’s “Stampede” a thousand times. The song holds all the fear, confusion and heart-pounding, heart-wrenching intensity I was looking for in my scene. For other scenes I’ve listened to bluegrass and fiddle music, some lively, some sorrow filled. It amazes me how one note can hold so much sadness or joy, and when it touches my heart that’s what flows into the story. When the hero and heroine meet again after many years and he turns to reject her I pulled on the emotions of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “Like we never loved at all.”

    In another manuscript the heroine is stabbed and the hero is waiting, wondering and praying while she’s in surgery. I listened to Kate Bush’s “This woman’s work.”

    When writing a spiritual scene I turn to Robin Mark, Michael W. Smith, Brandon Heath, or Greg Long. These musicians have the ability to draw me to the throne and I can drag along my characters.
    This is probably way more then you wanted to know, but a small sample of who fills my ear buds or speakers while I write.

  20. Great post....loved it! Would love to read your book, Patti. Thanks!!!

  21. Great stuff! I'm with you on the time tag thing, those and really long tags just stick out and I want to fix them. :)

    Thanks so much for this info, and for the giveaway. Have a wonderful weekend, all.

  22. Mario,

    is this any relation to your Grandmom?

    Looks like we dogs will have our days! My book May on the Way is coming out sometime this summer, so I'm told. :)

    (Isn't this fun? Sounds like we need to have a Seekerville companion dog blog doesn't it? Ha hahahaha...)

    Looking forward to reading your books and Ms. Kendig's with my Mom.

  23. Melanie, YOUR Healer's Apprentice took me away during a recent difficult out-of-town visit. You are AMAZING, girl! I would be thrilled for you to check out my stuff!

    Jan, THANKS for tiptoeing through the thorn-laden swath of land separating those waxing poetic and prosetic!!!! Okay, Seekers, WAY TOO much caffeine here in Normal!!!

    Kirsten, got spurs and wagons and Chris LeDoux's gravelly voice coming at me RIGHT NOW. Wow! Gotta go find a Conneally book!!!!!

    "God help us all. Hey, stampede! Smell the rain...OOOH. It's GREAT!!!

    You are amazing, girl, ! You go!
    Will check out Grego Long. YAY! A new musician (to me)

    Nikki and Jackie, thanks for bringing y'all's special rhythms to Seekerville today. I am hearing a SPASM band (yep, Google it...and have fun:))

    Karen, hope I didn't sound rulesy, because some time tags work great! As Julie said, when I read over my work, MY use of 'em upset the rhythm of things.

    I get a little discombobulated when "rules" come out about writing cuz most likely I've just read a fabulous novel that slays preconceptions. Isn't that one role of artists? To capture fresh melodies?

    And in my next book, time tags may sync up with my themes.

  24. K.C., Seekerville does need a dog. A cat. Dozens of pets!

    Yep, I'm that kind:)

    You've sure made this a fun morning for me and Laura, who can be found somewhere on my website,

    Poor granddog Mario must live the Nashville life. They do not allow him to surf the web while they chase the dumb dollar.

  25. YEEEHAAW! Patti!

    Anyone who can quote a Chris LeDoux song is aces in my book!

    Unfortunately, Greg Long doesn't record solo albums anymore (he married into the group Avalon) but if you can find his solo albums I recommend (Jesus Saves, and Now might be easiest to find).

    Back to work (I'm currently listening to Hair Trigger Colt .44 Yep, we're having a high noon moment).

  26. Patty, there's a rhythm to comedy.

    Watch a sit com sometime and you'll see the almost constant rhythm to the jokes.

    Set up line
    Set up line
    Punch line

    They repeat this constantly.

    In writing it can't flow quite that much because of the need to set the scene.

    But a comedy scene has a real tricky flow to it. The wrong word can pull the reader out of the story, stop the (hopefully) intense involvement.

    I just used your repetition idea in a scene I'm revising. The hero meets the heroine in an utterly dark cave. He finds her. Saves her. She's hysterical. So frightened he can't get her to cooperate and help save herself.

    So he kisses her to calm her down.

    Then, after he's thoroughly enjoying the kiss and she's really calm, it occurs to him that he has no idea what she looks like. He doesn't even know if she's young or old. Once that's in his head he can't stand to kiss her again for fear she's sixty and ugly. But he can't tell her that either.

    Anyway, it was fun and everything she does, and everything he says is fairly normal but inside his head he's thinking in reaction to her every breath....
    She sounded young and beautiful.
    She felt young and beautiful.
    He guides her foot onto a ladder rung and thinks, "Her foot felt very young and beautiful."

    I tag about every third paragraph with him thinking, "That's the way someone young and beautiful would respond"....or...."That seemed like a very young and beautiful thing to say."

    Because now he's really hoping she's young and beautiful.
    He keeps that up until he finally gets her out and can see that she is, indeed, very young and beautiful, right down to her feet.

    I like the rhythm ideas. Thanks

  27. Awesome,Patti

    I just heard the other day about how each of our DNA carries its own song. Isn't that awesome. And we as writer's play our own music. Light Airy, sad, sullen, scary, all beautifully crafted in the words we write.

    Makes one wonder how their song would sound when played.

    Of course how a reader or listener hears the music, may have some baring on the final interpretation, for them anyway.

    For example, one of my stories has been tagged Gothic by several readers, and I didn't set out to write a Gothic, but I can how it can be.

    Anyway, have a lovely day all.



  28. Aw, Patti, you almost made me cry! (Yes, I'm a cry-er. Just ask Julie.)
    Definitely going to get The Rhythm of Secrets.

  29. Welcome back to Seekerville, Patti.

    What an intriguing post. Thank you for this. I'm excited to delve into this.

  30. I absolutely love the cover art for The Rhythm of Secrets. I also enjoyed you blog today Patti. Thank you for sharing that you didn't start writing until you were 50. I'm 58, have written poetry almost my whole life and now I'm feeling a calling to write for the Lord. It's always encouraging to hear that you're never too old to write. :O)

    Cindy W.


  31. Kirsten, we HAVE to get together on Facebook and my blog, okay?
    ALL of y'all, I post daily Artbites. They are A BLAST, and it's a way to keep forcing my old Humanities students to study paintings!!!

    Oh, MY! Melanie, you made MY throat tight. AND MARY, I cannot believe ANYTHING I said helped your amazing writing. Hey, folks, didn't that snippet make you just salivate to read more????

    Tina P, YES! YES! YES! And if you're like me, rhythms change. Thanks or no thanks to hormones, tragedies, comedies, GOTHIC!!:) I want to read YOUR work, too!

    Tina R, it's a BLAST so far. And I actually have to go WORK. Yuck! But I'll return later for some foot-stomping, rollicking times. So keep up the comments!

  32. I just bookmarked your blog and sent a friend request on FB! Thanks for the invite!


  33. Patti,

    Thanks for those beautiful examples of rhythm.

    Julie, I can't believe someone could literally change your words without permission or consultation first! How awful to have to go back and fix everything page by page!!

    Mary, you had me laughing out loud just describing that scene! Too funny - kissing someone in a cave without knowing what they looked like! What a great scene idea. You have a definite gift for comedy - something we all need about now in the dreary winter.

    Thanks for the smile today!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  34. Love this post! Thanks for the great tips and examples, Patti. I'm in the middle of Rhythm of Secrets. Hopefully, I'll finish grading my students' essays in record time and finish your book over the weekend. Can't wait! Blessings!

  35. What a great post. I can definitely use this reminder in my own writing.

    joanne (at) joannesher(dot)com

  36. Hey, Patti! I'm so glad to see you here!! And I loved, loved, loved your post! (Notice the repetition for emphasis.) ;)

    Thanks for hanging out with us! Your book sounds amazing.

  37. Love this book and this post. Rhythm is all over The Rhythm of Secrets, an extra added bonus for the discerning reader.

    Patti, gal, you are everywhere!

  38. Great post Patti and helpful! I will admit to being guilty of those "long moment passed" etc.


    But at least now I know. :)

  39. Melanie~
    Not change after 30!? I hope your friend is wrong. I'm 31, there are lots of things I need to change.

    This really a great post. The great rhythms in writing are part of what keeps me up until all hours of the night on a fairly regular basis (unlike Julie apparently...that's one of those things I need to change). When the story is just flowing, I forget that I planned to go to bed, "When I finish this chapter."

    My favorite lines in my own writing are the ones that just roll off the tongue. I find myself tweaking constantly to get it just right.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  40. Pets?! /cry/ I'm allergic to most pets! Unless, these are magical Seekerville allergy free pets...

    @Mary - tease. When does this come out?

    @Melanie - crying? Okay so she was talking about your book but I bawled yesterday - three times. Once reading the story about Chris Medina, again once I got the YouTube video to download and once when Mark Schultz's Walking Her Home came on my playlist.

    If you haven't seen that American Idol audition, watch it. With Kleenex. No idea what his faith is, but there's a real man for ya.

    Music here is a shuffle playlist of 2008, 2010, 2011 WOW Hits played on my TV through the TIVO so nice and loud =D. It drowns out the Cat in the Hat Knows All About That sounds from the other room... ;)

  41. My current word veri. is "typer"

    I think that describes us all quite well, even if it is bad grammar.

  42. CarolM,

    I saw that with Chris Medina! Very moving. And yes, I, too, had to go for the Kleenex! :)

  43. Great post, Patti! I love the rhythm and beats we use when weaving words into a story. And I'm a repetition fan... used judiciously, of course.

    If anybody hasn't read The Rhythm of Secrets, I highly recommend that you run out and get it. Then get Patti's other two books. She's a FABULOUS writer!

    Waving "HI" to the Seeker gals, who are all splendid in their own "write" :+}

  44. Cindy, I am so glad you like the cover! It is TOTALLY the doing of Kregel's great design group AND Cat Hoort, who found a compromise! (Actually, I loved TWO sample covers:)) Love seeing you here!

    Susan, thanks for stopping by! I thought that was a pretty astounding story by Julie as well! And Mary...well, that girl is flatout amazing. Like her character Belle!

    Renee Ann, how sweet! Thank you for investing in my book! LOVE my fellow teachers!!

    Joanne, only credit me if it works, okay:)

    Missy, HEY!!! I sure loved meeting you in the fall. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Patricia, yes, I have been wearing my traveling shoes! One of my favorite places? YOURS!!!! Thank you for stopping in.

    Casey, sometimes those time beats work. My characters just don't seem to be standing around studying their watches. They're too busy digging their way out of a brothel or something:)

    Andrea, I AM SO JEALOUS!!! Getting a first draft on paper for me is liking extracting blood from a collapsed vein. I only WISH I would "look up" and realize the night had passed by!

    Carol, you sound as in love with music as me. And I adore people who wear their emotions on their eyelids:)

  45. I love Jackson's Bakery, Deb.

    We can meet in the middle, LOL! Name it, I'll buy it.

    And I can just SEE Mary tormenting this guy in the dark with these thoughts, and I'm laughing THINKING about it, so how much better will it be in 'person' in a book????

    Oh my stars.

    Hey, tray of chocolates for the night. Something to snack on as we muse.

    Have I mentioned I love chocolate?

  46. Ahh, Patti! You are so right.

    Rhythms. Timing. Anticipation.

    You've got it right, girlfriend. What a great way to teach the moves, too : )

    Tell your young writer friend, times makes itself available. She needs to listen to her own rhythm!!

    Glad to see you, Patti!! You are such a sweet thing!

  47. Oh Patti,
    GREAT post - filled with wisdom and melody :-)
    What fantastic imagery and verb choices!

    A time and season?!? Oh yes, though times I want to cover my ears when I hear the word 'wait'. But the Author of time knows best.

    It's so hard to wait for a crock pot delicacy when we live in a fastfood world :-)

    Thanks for the lessons and encouragement. And your wonderful you-ness. :-)

  48. Patti, loved your post and all the great examples. Much here to digest and apply to my WIP. Have enjoyed all your books. Please enter me in the drawing for Rhythm of Secrets.


  49. Great post Patti and hello to all of Seekerville.

    It's been a while since I commented on here but I get on here once a week or so and read all the blogs. So much good information and encouragement.

    Patti, I wanted to thank you again for your comments on a contest entry you just judged of mine, Thief's Redemption. You had so many helpful suggestions.

    I do have on question though. You used the term "beats" four times in your comments. I don't know what that means. What is beats?

    Connie Queen

    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

  50. Jennifer, this day reminds me of the day I spent at Maura's place with your bloggites! Wonderful. And thanks for the encouragement, both today and the other night!!

    Audra, I just HAVE to get your book. The NEXT trip. Yes. BY next weekend. That'll give me something to do at my Rhythms signing:)

    Pepper, good to see you stopping by. You know about times and seasons, don't you????

    Thank you, Pat. It is SO GOOD to talk again! Blessings!

    Connie! Wow! Thanks for saying hi! Okay. A beat has different meanings to me but mainly represents a pause in the "action."
    When I say break up dialogue with an action beat, I mean intersperse a behavior, a mood, into the conversation.
    "I told you no!" She stamped her foot. "Are you gonna make me scream?"
    Stamping is an action beat between the dialogue that emphasizes her mood.

    A time beat can be subtler.
    "I killed him." My windpipe constricted; the very walls of the room pressed in, strangling me with the knowledge that Momma had been right. "He gave me no choice."

    In a musical way, beats allow you to pause from the dialogue and absorb mood.

    I also generically think of beat as the rest between "breathing" the words of a book.

    Reading aloud helps you determine where you need to give your audience a "break" from the dialogue and a chance to absorb the mood.

    Connie, if you have more questions, feel free to e-mail me at

    My hope is that some of the great Seekerville writers will add their oomph to this concept:O)

  51. When I was pregnant with my 3rd especially, I bawled at commercials :p. We watched CMT or something with my in-laws one night. I cried at every other video. My FIL was like... uh... what's wrong with you? I was like 18 weeks so it wasn't like we werent' telling people...

    Ugh. Walking Her Home just came on again.

    Skin by Rascal Flatts is another one that gets me. Every. Time.

    Brad Paisley's He Didn't Have to Be does sometimes. Depends on the mood I'm in.

    Lonestar's I'm Already There. Sob fest.

    There's others, but those are the ones that always always always do it.

  52. Thank you Patti for explaining. I kind of thought beat was something like that, but wasn't sure.

    I even tried googling it different ways and couldn't find anything. LOL.

    I love listening to songs from the 80's to put me in the mood to write. I don't know if it's the tune or the words, but it gets my creative juices going.

    Lucille by Kenny Rogers.
    Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys.
    Sunday Morning by Johnny Cash.

    I have only one contemorary WIP and Harper Valley PTA sets the tone. I love the attitude!!!


  53. This was upbeat & energetic. Good points Patti. Love the name Patti Lacy, upbeat just like the author.

  54. Thank y'all for wonderful memories of Seekerville! Rock on!!!!

    And God bless all of y'all.

  55. I can relate to rhythm in music. When you wrote the lyrics to the song by Johnny Cash, it reminded me of the college students who are working hard on the pieces I gave them for voice lessons. Right now quite a few of them are working on "I've Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin:)
    Rhythm seems to come easy to me as far as music goes, but something I'll really need to work on with writing. Thanks for the tips of rhythm like having 'five words or less per reading beat'...totally makes sense when you're intensifying the dialogue, etc. Also, I often forget to read what I've written out loud:( Thanks for all the helpful tips:)
    Your book sounds like a GREAT one...I'll need to read it!


  56. Loved the post, Patti! It's given me a lot to think about, and the examples you shared were perfect.

    I can't wait to read Rhythm of Secrets!

  57. Julie just e-mailed me to check out y'all who sauntered in, sassy and jazz-like!

    And look who I found? A neat musician-teacher-writer and an old Inkie friend!!!

    Hello, Lorna and Susie!!

  58. What a beautiful name, Patti. It reminds me of edelweiss on the side of a snow covered mountain. I'm absolutely reeling from the rhythm of your literary talent. What do music, rhythm and math have in common? They each have beats...counts. it's beating each syllable of a written word in a rhythm and time. I am a musician and have been my entire life, still singing in the choir at 72. And now age has interested me in another talent that I'll set to rhythm. Writing. When I type, I have a song in my head or on my lips and write in measures of beats. I'm going overboard with this. I'm excited by your novel and hope to get the opportunity to read it. I'm also a dog lover and animals like music too....when I wanted my dogs to settle down and rest, I would sing to them...still do now that they are grown. I'm not sure whether they fall asleep because it's soothing or just so they don't have to listen any more. Thank you for offering this giveaway and for the chance to win it. I hope I win! Patti,I know you'll make a significant addition to Seekerville. What a welcome you are receiving from them.

    Grace & Peace,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  59. Barbara, you are an inspiration! May God use every one of your septugenarian years to capture His words!!!

    I do need to correct one thing. Those Seekerville gals just invited me for a guest slot! Maybe if I behave, I'll get to come back one day!