Long Sentences: Big, Bold, and Beautiful

I told you I would come back and talking about writing, now whether this is a good thing or not can still be debated. But today, I want to look at long sentences and what makes them so darn awesome.

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Ah but don’t worry, it isn’t so bad. Let’s take a look at a long sentence I wrote recently (and it might not be the best, in fact, I expect everyone to tear it apart). “Ducks quacked, pigeons bobbed their heads, pecking out stray pieces of bread, sparrows swayed in the branches and chirped to the rhythm of a distant saxophone.” So what makes this long sentence, or any other one, so special? In that one sentence, we see a blur of sensations. We are whisked through the scenery, seeing it in a blur, the same as the character would. There is no reason to stop and explain every action these birds are taking. Instead, we get the picture, and because of the commas, because you can’t pause for too long in the middle of one really really long sentence like the one I am writing right now, we have to read through it quickly. It’s beautiful, especially when the character is feeling an emotional rush. Also, longer sentences can vary in their lengths, which can help break up the monotony of a paragraph or even a page. But, let’s not get swept away by long sentences. Short ones are just as wonderful. And next time, we’ll see what they can do for a piece.

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3 Comments

Filed under Writing

3 responses to “Long Sentences: Big, Bold, and Beautiful

  1. sentences don’t tend to scare me when I write them, but there’s been a few that had scared the bejeebuz out of me when reviewing. I like your point about context – making the sentence structure fit the experience of the character. Given me something to work with when trying to determine if the sentence I like really does work where it’s appeared.

    • I’ve come across a few unwieldy ones too. And while clear sentences are nice, clarity>beauty, so sometimes they have to go. It gets tricky to make those sentences fit what is going on with the character, but I’ve found it makes writing more fun, and in the end, more rewarding!

  2. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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