Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Writing Down the Bones: Mixing it up with Sentence Structure

The way you word your story is important. Too many sentences written the same way can bore your reader. Starting your sentences with the same word can do the same thing. Remember though when you're doing that rough draft just write. Don't worry about what word to use, if you have overused a word or if there is enough variety in your sentence structure. Once you start editing then you'll be looking at these things.

So, let's look at sentences written the same way.

Needing to see if any of her friends had arrived, Mary looked around the bar to see if she could spot anyone. Not seeing anyone, she sat at the bar. Wondering if she was too early, she went ahead and ordered a drink. Hearing her name called out, she looked around again.

Even though I started the sentences in the above paragraph with different words they are the same structure. That gets monotonous. So how would I fix it?

Mary hoped she wasn't too early. She was supposed to meet her friends here for a few drinks. Looking around, she didn't see anyone so went to the bar and ordered a drink.

"Mary!"

Her girlfriend's voice was loud enough to cut through her thoughts. Mary turned around and smiled. They were tucked in a small alcove toward the back. No wonder she didn't see them.

The same information was there but by changing the sentence structures I actually added more depth. You get a little of Mary's emotions. You learn that one of her friends has one of those voices that can cut through a crowd.

Now let's look at sentences starting the same way. The most common one is the he/she sentences.

She walked across the room to her friends, carrying her drink. She smiled as she sat down in the only empty chair. She was happy to be out of the house.

Grabbing her drink, Mary walked across the room to her friends. It was good to see them again. Work had been so hectic she hadn't had a chance to get away like this in a while. A smile filled her lips as she sat down in the only empty chair. Now this was the way to spend an evening.

Changing the sentences gives you a little more of Mary's thoughts and what she's been through. We  now know her work has been occupying a lot of her time and made her miss a few social gatherings. The choices I made here also took out some of the telling out and converted it to showing and made it a little less passive voice.

There is so much more to this sentence structure, that I'm not going to try to cram it all into one blog - I will continue to touch on it from time to time.

Barb:)




2 comments:

  1. I like your point about not fixing the words as you go on the first draft.

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  2. I always fall prey to the she/he issue and writing very long sentences. Need to keep visiting you! ;)

    ReplyDelete