Tuesday, July 05, 2011

How To Craft The Perfect Sentence, Part 22

by CWK

Vary your style ... from sentence to sentence that is.

Everyone knows that monotony invites boredom. So, mix it up.

So, an ironic, slightly acerbic, comically playful style worked for you once? You crafted a perfect sentence with that style? Now, you may be tempted to write every sentence with that same style. Mistake. Variety is the spice of reading. Staid formulas get old, no matter how good they are. Staid formulas show a lack of creative effort, and eventually strike your reader as arrogance. No, my friends, we have to work for our readers attention. It is always a gift on loan.

So, beware of repeating a formula or style incessantly. Beware of running a good routine into the ground. For such a crime Hootie and The Blowfish's second album tanked. Beware of losing freshness, and becoming predictable.

How might you vary your style? Here are a some tips:

1) Change tone when appropriate. 

You don't always have to be serious -- that's a downer. You don't always have to be funny -- that's triviality. You don't always have to be ironic, or sarcastic. Neither do you always have to be academic, or high-brow, or low-brow, for that matter.

2) Vary your voice.

Speak in a whisper; speak in a loud voice; speak in a conversational voice; speak with a formal voice; speak with an informal voice.

Please note: if you always shout, or if you always whisper – this is monotone. It is not the decibals, but the tone that never changes in monotone. Monotone = THE SAME (mono) tone.

3) Mix Sentence Length.

Mix long sentences with short sentences, and long paragraphs with short paragraphs.

4) Vary Sentence Format.

Include questions, commands, statements, restatements, poetry, and prose.

5) Vary Punctuation.

Use colons, semi-colons, question marks, exclamation points, commas, and parentheses.

6) Vary Vocabulary.

Don't always say, "jump." There are about 19 lovely words that describe the action of propelling your self from off the ground, and into thin air.

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