Monday, May 13, 2019

How Long Should a Sentence Be

QUESTION:  I’ve just started writing, and I’m paranoid about my sentence lengths.  Too long?  Too short?  Just right?  Help!

Don't sweat the length of the sentences. Just write.  Sentence length and various style issues are part of the rewriting process.  It's also part of the growth process of being a writer.  The more you write, the more you sound like you.  

I believe that sentences should vary in length in most instances.  Too many long sentences are boring.   Too many short sentences come across as a tire with a bump on it.  Content.  Thud!  Content.  Thud!  Content.  Thud!  Too many noun then verb sentences have the same problem.  

The advice I always give on sentences is that, if you are in the viewpoint character's head, you will rarely go wrong on sentence length or content.  If your character is dodging bullets, he won't be thinking long, deep thoughts. If he's staring at the clue board in the precinct, he won't be thinking short, choppy thoughts.  

QUESTIONS, I TAKE QUESTIONS:  Have a writing question?  Ask me here

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