It’s Day 24 of 31 Days of Writing Tips, and today’s writing prompt is: DIFFERENT

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Today’s writing tip is to vary your sentence length.

I admit that I do not often consciously make an effort toward writing with different sentence lengths, nor do I often pay attention to the length of the sentences I read in other work. But I do know that this practice makes for more pleasant reading.

The best example I can give for this tip comes from a quote by Gary Provost:

“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.”

Can you see the difference?

How can you practice varying the length of the sentences in your own work?

Read through your work in progress and ask yourself, “Does it make music?”

If not, play around with a variety of shorter, medium, and longer sentences.

Make music.


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