Choppy Sentences and Pendulums

Posted: February 15, 2013 by dreamoore in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I remember that years ago, when I encountered my first writer’s group and choppy-sentence ridden passages I hated them.  My own sentences were long-winded with a tendency towards the passive. Now, I catch my stream-of-consciousness rough drafts to be choppy, halting and exactly what my younger self despised.

Yet, now, I’m defensive of the choppy sentences.

What happened?

Everyone’s style changes.  Life, reading, and our own minds conspire towards this end  Even if, somewhere, we want to hit the pause button, we really don’t have a choice.

I think that it was easier to slow down and think through things in a long-winded fashion when I was younger.  I didn’t understand that the chaos of life could cause a person’s thought patterns to come in continuous clips of phrases, to be constantly urgent and hurried.

That doesn’t fit in every scene.  When you want something to move slower, to build character rather than plot, this sort of choppiness needs to be edited out.

So while scouring my short stories for too little sentence variation, I am thinking about the pendulum swinging from one end to the other despite my desires.

I suppose we have all witnessed changes in our writing over time. Have any caught you off guard in this fashion? Have any weaknesses morphed into strengths? Or vice versa?

  1. Isn’t it funny how styles can swing around? I think there’s definitely a place for long sentences and a place for choppy ones…as seems to be the answer to most questions, it’s all a balance!

  2. Matthew Ridenour says:

    I think the trick is to learn and practice the rules. Find out why they’re rules. Only then will we discover that they aren’t rules at all, but guidelines. And then, we’ll know when to break them.

  3. jennyleelee says:

    I was very long winded with my sentences, so comma splice was my middle name. I’m still long winded in thoughts, but my sentences have more character to them. 🙂

    So, I guess I’ve grown from a girl making noise to a character with actual sound. 😉

  4. It was pointed out to me that my female characters screamed all the time… This has been rectified.

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