Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This is the Sentence that Never Ends...

You know you want to finish the song. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

*sits patiently*

Done? K, moving on.

He crept around the chair at the center of the room that sat facing away from the door he’d initially entered the room through.


Ever written a sentence like this? After reading it, wondered “what did I do, and how do I fix it?”

I have. I read them, and I cringe. Then I remind myself that it is, in fact, a quick fix.

When you find these kinds of sentences in your writing, go back over the last few paragraphs (or back to the initial description of the scene location). These sentences often result from a lack of initial description. The writer suddenly realizes that “oh crap, the details about the room’s layout are necessary for this scene.” The writer then adds in the necessary information. The result is often sentences that look like this.

DON’T PANIC! (These may or may not be large, friendly letters.)

When this happens, take the sentence apart and make it a few sentences.

A chair sat at the center of the room, its back toward him. He crept to one side, quieting his breathing. There was no sense in letting whatever waited get the advantage.

Not the best, but you get the idea.

Then, if it suits the situation, put setting details in the initial description of the location. Keep action details where they happen. Result: shorter sentences that are less confusing and a clearer picture of what’s happening.

Now go forth and write clear prose.

Thanks for reading.

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