Wednesday, April 22, 2015
A to Z Challenge: S is for Sentence Variation
Welcome to April. With its customary showers comes the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar with it:
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. (Source)
The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE
My theme this year is EDITING.
I'll be posting practical advice for editing any story, novel, or other piece of writing. Editing is something most authors struggle with, and after years of doing my own as well as that of others, I have a pretty good eye for what needs work. I'll be doing short posts on editing topics and (hopefully) dispensing simple, valuable advice to help everyone out there self-edit.
S is for Sentence Variation
Sometimes when I'm in the zone and am just flying through the first draft of a scene, I can really get into a rut with my sentence structure. It's the kind of thing I don't usually notice until my critique group starts highlighting words.
The most common sentence structure we talk about is "Noun verb ..." But you don't want sixteen sentences in a row that start with "He/She did something."
Again, you probably won't notice this on your own. This is where editors and critquers come in majorly handy. And it's a super easy fix.
Vapid sentence structure:
Jane pressed the button on her keyless entry. She heard the locks pop. Then she heard a noise and turned to look behind her. She could see someone hiding between the cars two rows over. She was afraid. Moving quickly, she swung her car door open, dove in, and hit the power-lock.
Charismatic Sentence Structure:
Jane pressed the button on her keyless entry and heard the locks pop. Just then, a soft noise from somewhere behind her made her turn. Someone was hiding between cars two rows over. Heart pounding, she swung open her car door, dove in, and hit the power-lock.
Notice how the first time, nearly every sentence began with "She verb..." By changing up the sentences in the second paragraph, only two sentences begin that way. With the others, the object became the subject. Using a range of sentences this way naturally tightens your writing, makes it less choppy and much easier to read.
How do you vary your sentence structure?