"Listening with a careful ear to one’s prose isn’t the same thing as falling in love with the sound of one’s voice"

Chapter three of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft is devoted to sentence length and complex syntax. She says, wisely:

Rhythm is what keeps the song going, the horse galloping, the story moving. Sentence length has a lot to do with the rhythm of prose. So an important aspect of the narrative sentence is–prosaically–its length.

And then there is this bit which is pure gold:

When Henry James began dictating his novels to a secretary, his tendency to qualify and parenthesize and embed clause within clause got out of hand, clogging the narrative flow and making his prose totter on the edge of self-parody. Listening with a careful ear to one’s prose isn’t the same thing as falling in love with the sound of one’s voice.

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