Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Words become Sentences #amwriting
Last week words in all their glory was discussed. This week we're turning words into sentences. Using Dwight V. Swain's Techniques of A Selling Writer I'll take a look at sentence faults.
Writing sentences is the next step after choosing words toward making a story and the characters come alive and read by others. I read a lot and judge a number of contests. There are a number of ways a writer can make sentences go wrong. The first also deals with pacing in a way. Sentences that form a pattern of sameness. Sometimes when getting a rough draft down the writer will cast every sentence in the same manner but if these aren't revised to change the tempo of the sentences, the reader comes to a nodding head and a boredom with the work. These sentences all of the same structure lull the reader and may lose the sense of what is going on. Starting every sentence with the same word can be boring. I once read an entry where many of the sentences began with an ing word. These sentences were gramatically correct, but I found myself trying to find what new ing word the writer would choose and totally forgot what the story was about. This also goes for starting sentences with He or She too many times in a row. Patterns may be good when designing fabric but when one falls into this pattern, the reader becomes bored. Variety is good.
A second sentence structure is what I call the "run away sentence." There is nothing gramatically incorrect with the sentence but the sentence is filled with pharase and clauses that continue to run away from what the writer is trying to convey. By the time the sentence reaches the end the reader has forgotten what the writer wanted to get across. Usually changing to more than one sentence clears the matter.
A third is using adverbs everywhere and sprinkling them through the sentences like a mad chef trying to bring flavor to a dish. Used with descretion adverbs can add a punch to the prose but too heavy a hand makes one think of those Tom Swifties one used to see in works of fiction
So when writing construct sentences with care, clarity and variety and the reader will leap at them.