Eleven Pipers Piping, an apt reminder that when you are writing fiction your prose will have a music all of its own. We are born with an innate sense of rhythm and the more you write the more you will develop a feel for the words you use. You will become conscious of the power of syllables and stresses, how to combine words of different length so that they don’t just sound right, they look good on the page. You will see that the same applies to phrases then sentences and even paragraphs: that infinite variety doesn’t just put a spring in your writing, it helps to build tension as well. Your awareness of the percussive quality of words will grow, so that you will instinctively use soft sibilants in the gentler passages of your work and harsher consonants in upbeat sections. As you master these concrete aspects of writing, you will gain in confidence and start introducing imagery into your work – a bit like the melody in a piece of music. Working like this at a more abstract or symbolic level is what helps to fire your reader’s imagination.

As you can see, it’s tempting to think of writing as orchestration, but the idea comes with a major health warning: if you become too conscious of the music in your voice, it will lose its magic. Your writing will become mannered and strained and too self-aware, an act of narcissism rather than creativity. To avoid this try and think technically rather than aesthetically, be objective not subjective, so that your stern editor’s eye will stop your work from becoming self-indulgent.