Have you ever felt like you were losing your readers’ attention with long, confusing sentences, endless conjunctions, and infinite commas, but you weren’t sure how to make your writing more streamline, efficient, and to the point? No. Well if not, you are in the minority. If you do encounter this problem, try graphing your sentence length.
There is no right or wrong answer. The point of this exercise is to notice what is happening in your writing.
Many lengthy sentences can sometimes make your writing become confusing to the reader. Experiment. Make it shorter. See how it sounds. Read it out loud and see which iteration works better to accomplish your goals.
Many small sentences can sometimes make your writing seem choppy and disjointed. Try combining sentences. Add details. Insert dialogue. Focus on description. Experiment. Sometimes a longer sentence can juxtapose two ideas better than two shorter sentences. Again, read it out loud and see which iteration works better.
Often, a good balance of sentence lengths works best. However, all that really matters is that your writing is purposeful. You might use a lot of short sentences to create a staccato rhythm in your writing. You might use a longer sentence to draw the reader into the sensory details of a moment. Whatever you choose, do it for a reason!
Check out how my own writing looks on a graph.
This week’s tip was written by Jack Scotti, Story To College’s Director of Strategic Partnerships! You can contact him with any more writing questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.