Writer’s Toolbox Wednesday: Sentence Variety

Last post quote–”Enter Sandman” by Metallica (a classic)

Tonight’s song quote was inspired by the weather outside. It’s snowing here and I’m not looking forward to the drive to work in the morning, so…

And it’s off to the morning and back again.
Same old day, same situation…
I wanna stay home today (don’t wanna go out)

The weather aside, I thought we’d continue the topic of sentences and why we need all these rules. The point of all of these rules really comes down to simulating spoken language. Gary Provost does and excellent job of showing what I’m talking about in his book, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing. The paragraph below is an excerpt from his book which illustrates how punctuation, specifically sentence breaks create art with the written word…

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.
–100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost

What’s the best paragraph of writing you’ve ever heard sing?

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Posted on January 27, 2010, in Grammar Tips, Ramblings, Writer's Toolbox. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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