Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Write a Sentence #amWriting #WritingTips

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." Sylvia Plath
Found items from my office.
I've been writing articles and reading a lot of short stories lately but today I'd like to slow down and concentrate on quality.  When I write I focus on clarity and conciseness.  I'm always asking myself "What is it that I am saying?" and make sure to stick to one point or perspective per article.  The next step in my writing evolution is to think about how I will say it.  Even though I have a large vocabulary I don't find myself using enough variety in my writings.  There are many authors I admire for what sometimes seems like a magical ability to find the most precise words and place them neatly together to create beautiful sentences. 

Sentences I like:
  "Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." Truman Capote

"The house was far from everything, in the heart of the desert, next to a settlement with miserable, burning streets where the goats committed suicide from desolation when the winds of misfortune blew." Gabriel Garci­a Marquez

"Way out in the country tonight he could smell the pumpkins ripening toward the knife and the triangle eye and the singeing candle." Ray Bradbury 

"We came to Macun when I was four, to a rectangle of rippled metal sheets on stilts hovering in the middle of a circle of red dirt." Esmeralda Santiago

“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” Nora Ephron

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

 Here are a few tips I will be applying to my sentence writing:
  • Apply active voice. 
  • Invigorate verbs.
  • Place the main point at the beginning.
  • Eliminate: which
  • Don't begin with: there are
  • Use short clear words.
  • Avoid repetition.
Do you have any favorite sentences?
"Write the truest sentence that you know." Ernest Hemingway

"Writing simply means no dependent clauses, no dangling things, no flashbacks, and keeping the subject near the predicate. We throw in as many fresh words we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don't always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it vital and alive.... Virtually every page is a cliffhanger--you've got to force them to turn it." Dr. Seuss

"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?" George Orwell 

"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book." Friedrich Nietzsche


Laura Marcella said...

All these quotes are fantastic. Great list of things to remember when writing our sentences. And about those writers you think have a magic ability to string together the perfect sentence, remember these two quotes:

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

"When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing." ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

BellaVida Letty said...

Hi, thanks for dropping by. Those are great quotes and so true. Good writing is very hard.

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