1. Lucy Eisenberg
    Offline

    Lucy Eisenberg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sentence Structure & Punctuation

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Lucy Eisenberg, Jun 23, 2012.

    Sometimes while writing a story, I like using short sentences. But I think I may be breaking a dozen punctuation rules while doing that! For example, this text.

    I figured I had had enough. I narrowed my eyes, briskly. There was a skill to it you know; narrowing ones eyes.
    I whispered amongst the stars, “Oye where did you run off to?” My ears perked. My limbs jumpy. My insides tangled. Ready to attack. Or run. Whatever the situation called for. A faint harrowing noise came by. I heard it. Gushing like the wind. Laughing like the stream. Cluck-cluck, I clucked my tongue. I SHALL NOT BE LAUGHED AT. I firmly shook my head, and I pounced. It took centuries for me to cross the bridge. Decades to land on the other side. But I was finally there. And I saw him. His nose a-quivering. His tail a-shivering. A grin on my face, I lunged.
    *Gulp*
    That was the end of his story. I licked my paws clean. Never get blood on your hand, they say. Those wise creatures. The stars.

    I am doing this completely wrong? Should I use commas, etc and start joining my tiny sentences?
    Also, this is my first post here, so please forgive me if this type of question has already been covered or something. :)
     
  2. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I think there are times and places for short sentences and sentence fragments. They can be very effective when used as parts of a symphony of sentences of all kinds. But a barrage of nothing but choppiness is something I find hard - very hard - to read.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,985
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I quite like the short sample, though I'd tone down a few of the words. It gives me a strong feeling of being inside the creature, feeling his motives and seeing his world.

    However, I don't think that the style could be supported for pages of narrative; it's too intense. I'm not sure how to solve that problem.
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Reminder: This is NOT the place for critique, and critique of the example WILL BE REMOVED.

    As for the question of whether it is acceptable yo use short sentences and sentence fragments in fiction, of course you can. The only question is how much is too much.

    The only answer is to look at the result, and ask yourself, "Did I take the story over the cliff with this style?" If the answer is yes, go back and revise.
     
  5. Andrae Smith
    Offline

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Location:
    Wandering
    As they said, there is a time and a place for short sentences and sentence fragments. For example, say you are writing a fast paced scene with a lot of excitement. You would not want long eloquent sentence chains when you want to convey how a character is rushed and his or her attention is changing every second. Likewise, if you are describing a dinner scene, you wouldn't necessarily want to use short, broken observations in plance of a calm fluid projection of the scene. You may intermix them for stylistic effect as such if you so choose:

    I went down to dinner. Mother had called me five minutes ago, but I could not bring mysef to face my family with this secret looming over me. The excitement at the table was a dead give-away to my thought as I sat there quietly. I was the only one who didn't speak. They looked at me one by one. I felt their stares and my heart raced....

    Short sentences portray anxiety, a "hurriedness" while longer sentences produce thought and imagery. kind of an action versus thought concept really :)
     
  6. Lucy Eisenberg
    Offline

    Lucy Eisenberg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank You! This is very helpful.
     

Share This Page