I think that in order to give the reader a pleasurable experience, prose needs to be harmonious at minimum, and rhythmic at best. The best expository prose flows smoothly; and in my opinion, the best speeches move the audience with a powerful cadence, which, although poetic, still sounds like a human’s speech. Many of the epistles of Paul the Apostle in the KJV sound cadenced/rhythmic, but they still sound like Paul as a human being.

But not everyone seems able to write smoothly or rhythmically. This is not to insult anyone, but writing with harmony and rhythm are one of the skills that writers need to learn, and I am one of them. Even though I seem to manage it sometimes, many times I struggle to write with rhythm. In the first place, I grapple with imagining certain kinds of prosaic rhythms.

I think I lack the ability to yield certain kinds of cadence/rhythms, even though in the past I was able to do it. I want to know how this facility can be developed, if it is even a skill that can be learned. I know that rhythm is created by a run of stressed and unstressed syllables. But exactly which combination of those kinds of syllables makes a rhythm I like is one thing I struggle to imagine.

So, do you think there is a way for people who lack rhythmic talent to develop it as a skill? Or is it an ability you must be born with?

As for whether or not I have rhythmic talent, I don’t know. But for some reason I lack the ability lately.

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    Most everything in writing can be successfully learnt - the caveat lies in the when, not in the whether. It is much easier to learn and apply the flow of words when you are younger, for instance. That said, repeating the words in your head before you blurt them on the page (in the shower, say) makes the writing process more natural. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 17:10

2 Answers 2


The two big tricks to develop cadence and rhythm are

  1. Read a lot of writers who have the skill
  2. Try to write pastiches of them.

These pastiches are pretty useless except as exercises, but they help you develop the skill set of writing.

Chose multiple writers so that you have many tricks and don't end up sounding just like another author, especially since you will probably not be as good as the original


Being born with the talent might seem magical but it actually a learned skill that your heart is invested in. Harmony and melody in poems that perform cadence aren't based on the lack of skills, it based on what you learn from music and literature together.

Some people want a life just to focus on one subject others may want to focus on multitasking jobs. Talent is not passed down by blood but by heart.

So user Garbus, what is your motivation that propels you to studied cadence? Your answer may be the key to push through that block of the inability of summoning your creativity.

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