Opening Sentence

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, May 16, 2012.

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How do you start your sentences?

  1. I don't really think about it. It sort of just comes to me.

  2. Little bit of consideration here and there.

  3. I do try and work in some interesting sentence starters.

  4. Sentence starters? That's for the edits.

  5. I don't think 'interesting' sentence starters matter at all.

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  1. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    My sentences usually come up fairly varied on first writing, but I do often discover in editing that a pattern has formed and needs to be corrected.
     
  2. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You can totes tell you're still in school :D Anyway, I think it comes with practice. The whole point of learning about sentence starters in school is to train you into thinking of them and using them. Once you're past that stage, you don't really think about it, no. Yes if I spot three consecutive sentences beginning with "He" in the same paragraph, I will deliberately vary them up, but those are not frequent occurrences. To some extent, you have to be actively thinking in order to write, and when you're actively trying to write well, you automatically start sifting through possible ways of writing a sentence, which necessarily includes how the sentence should start. After a certain point of writing, these considerations go into the background and you dwell more in the emotions and scene events and the "right" way of conveying your intended effect just "comes", quite often. And then of course, you still have the editing stage where you actively improve what you have.

    So I'd say, yes and no. But I'm never just thinking about "Hm how can I make this sentence start in an interesting way?" In fact, that's not a concern at all. It's simply, "What do I want to tell and what effect am I going for?" And then I use devices and rhythms that I know will get me that effect. Then go over it, edit, rinse repeat. It's less about making a sentence "interesting" and more about it being effective. School doesn't train you up for writing effectively, necessarily, I think. Just because you used a metaphor doesn't mean that metaphor is vivid or has punch. Just because it's a metaphor doesn't mean it works with the context you've set up. Just because it's a cool word doesn't mean it belongs in this sentence. When you leave school, you're thinking less about your writing and more about its effect on the reader.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    unless its first sentence of a story or chapter i rarely think about it.. although i do edit for repetition in the self edit
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  4. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Senior Member

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    Same here. My first drafts are littered with sentences that begin with either the character's name, pronoun, or 'the'. It's unfortunate because it makes my second and third drafts the most laborious steps in my writing process, as that's when I'm reworking and reimagining the prose.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  5. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    Not something I've really ever given thought to. The current first draft has a lot of the usual suspects @Bone2pick mentioned above, temporal or physical framing things like 'when' and 'inside', and fairly liberal amounts of 'and' and 'but'. Some of these will undoubtedly get changed on the second draft but I'm not specifically aiming for diversity, just something that fits the voice of the story.
     
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  6. labelab

    labelab Member

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    Ah, what gave it away? The question itself or the winking face?
     
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  7. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Senior Member

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    I don't think that much about it, to be honest, I follow the flow of the story and characters. Then at my editing, re-writing time, yes, I pay attention to sentences.
     
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  8. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That you used the term "sentence starters" because we're always talking about it in English :D (I work at a school if you hadn't guessed) I'm not sure that in the 9 years I've been on this forum I've ever heard anyone talk about sentence starters, or use the term. Certainly there have been questions on how to write interesting sentences and varying up the way you start, but never this particular focus on "sentence starters".
     
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  9. Just a cookiemunster

    Just a cookiemunster Active Member

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    This is like my biggest pet peeve because sentence starters doesn't just "Come" to me. Once my draft is finished I spend a LOT of time going through the sentences trying to find different ways to vary them. It comes out so much better once it's done but it's time consuming and annoying. I don't know why my brain is stuck in this one track mode that cannot come up with creative sentence starters easily besides he/she/it.
    I have to put work in. :superthink:
     
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  10. Gary Wed

    Gary Wed Active Member

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    As the years pass, I find myself never thinking about the opening of any sentence. I believe that the issue has self-fixed itself as I've learned to stop writing in what amounts to indirect form. By that I mean, not attributing the view. I don't think most writers think about that much, but I've found it to be critical.
    By indirect form, I mean that we tend to not be direct with what is before the viewpoint.

    Take for example the HE opening. When you do that the invisible narrator is intruding upon the work and saying HE. Now, certainly we will want to point out who is acting, from time to time, but as we establish view we really need to do much less of it. Instead, directly attribute what is happening.
     
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  11. Odile_Blud

    Odile_Blud Active Member

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    Am I allowed to vote "all of the above". Because, honestly, in some respect, it is.
     
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