One of the better pieces of writing advice I’ve heard over the years is to alternate the length of your sentences. You can do this by alternating for mood – a quick action sentence is more effective than a long-drawn out one for conveying quick action:
She slid home.
She took three running steps, then threw herself onto the ground in a flurry of fine dust particles, sliding onto the home plate just in the nick of time.
Now this is not polished or perfect, but you get the idea: “She slid home” is definite, charged, and gives the impression that she made it to home plate just in time, with a lot less words than the second sentence.
Another reason to alternate sentence length is to find and maintain a rhythm. If all of your sentences are the same length, then there is no energy, no rhythm, and your reader can easily…. drift off…. and…. fall…. asl….
By varying your sentence length, you can keep your reader – and your writing – more engaged and energized. Your sentences can rise and fall, or they can clip along.
Check out this article: 5 Tips About Writing with Rhythm for more ways – and reasons – to find your rhythm in your sentences.
So when I was trying to work on my novel last night, my mind jumped to a new story – a bit of a fairy tale I’m thinking. The woman in it is sad and slightly haunting so I was drawn back to it tonight to see if I could find the story in it. 75 words later, and not quite yet but I’m still interested so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Happy writing, everyone!