I was reading yesterday about sentences. Have you ever read The Sentence by John Barthelme ?? No? Me neither lol…. Brilliant πŸ˜‰

So, the sentence (can I just say at this point that for some reason I keep trying to spell it with an “A” ie sentance lol….weird!). Here are some tips on writing sentences (yay, I did it and didn’t even need the spell check kicking in…..I’m hoping that if I keep writing it during this post that it’ll sink in lol) from the lovely Judy Reeves πŸ™‚

Every sentence needs a subject and a verb.

Oh dear, black to school for me again then lol

Put things in a logical order so that the reader can understand. Don’t show images before the reader can see the action.

Emphasis flows towards the end, so if there’s a word or phrase you want to stand out, put it at the end.

Put your most powerful sentence at the end of a paragraph.

I do tend to do that at the end of chapters when I’m doing Nano….always end dramatically I say πŸ˜‰

Vary the length. Word count sentences in a paragraph (to check they’re not all the same length). Remember, long sentences slow a piece down, short ones speed it up. A paragraph full of long sentences will be boring for the reader.

And that’s why I LOVE dialogue, to break it all up.

Use punctuation to create breaks and pauses. Rhythm in a sentence is important.

Aim for one sentence (i guess, depending on how talented you are will decide on whether that will be in every paragraph or on every page) that is so beautiful and stunning that it stops the reader in their tracks.

I wrote a sentence for my Nano novel in 2010 which was about a woman who’s husband died and the fact that she couldn’t wash the sheets because she could smell him on his pillow. Emma Darwin thought it was fantastic when she did a critique of the first 3 chapters…..I’ll have to dig that out lol.

In my very humble opinion….. The best sentences are the ones that conjure up instant imagery. I want to be able to see in my mind what the writer is telling me πŸ™‚

And that folks, is why writers should also be readers πŸ™‚

I’ll end on a quote from Ernest Hemingway “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Good old Ernie πŸ˜‰

Do you keep an eye on your sentence structure when you write?

By the way….I’m reading this at the moment…. Will it improve my writing d’ya think?


Today’s prompt about before you were born inspired the fictional story (based on the true events, or what I’ve been told) about the moment my mum told my dad she was pregnant. Not a happy tale as she was 16 and he was 17…..and there was no happy ending. Today’s prompt is these are seductive voices of the night after Franz Kafka Hmmmmm, interesting πŸ™‚

13 thoughts on “Sentences

  1. It’s amazing how much thought can go into one sentence! I once received an offer for an online course that taught nothing but sentence structure and it was supposed to last for 9 weeks. Really? I was floored that so much time could be devoted to something I take for granted every day!

    I tend to pay more attention to sentence structure during my second drafts and beyond. The first draft is where I don’t think about it all – I just get the story out. πŸ™‚


  2. I don’t think about sentence structure as I write, but I find that I do end up doing a lot of the tips anyway. I suppose it’s because I subconsciously follow the same patterns of things I’ve been reading over the years. When I go back and edit, I think about structure more carefully.


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