Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.
Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?
But first, consider this passage:
The man rode hard through the woods. The black horse’s effort lay in lather. The sun beat down from high overhead. Dark birds circled, drifted, and then returned. The land baked, and dust hung suspended.
Is this not the most boring paragraph you’ve read in a long time — perhaps ever? We’ve got portent, a racing rider, and a forbidding landscape. Together, these should offer excitement and intrigue, but the words lay on the page, limp and dead. Why? Sentence length. Each sentence contains exactly seven words. The repetitive, seven-word cadence lulls you to sleep instead of piquing your interest.
So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.
— Gary Provost, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing
Mixing up the lengths of your sentences creates variety for the reader and makes for much more interesting reading.
Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.
Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.