Guest Post: Tightening Your Sentences

This week’s guest post is from online writer Reena Cruz. She writes about improving your writing on the sentence level, which I’ve often said is crucial for making your language fresh, varied, and interesting.

4 Handy Tips To Keep Your Sentences Interesting

When you’re strung out for new ideas—or worse yet, suffering from writer’s block, it’s easy to fall back on the same old writing tricks.

It isn’t easy to find a fresh approach to expressing yourself when you’re a full time writer charged with the task of keeping up a column, writing that literary masterpiece, or updating a blog on a regular basis. Nonetheless, keeping your sentences crisp, fresh and engaging is a necessity.

It may be hard to get out of your comfort zone when the creativity well runs dry, but there are a few tricks you can use to easily give your sentences a much-needed boost.

Looking for a way to jog your creative writing muscles?  If so, here are a couple quick things you can try.

1. Make Your Last Sentence A Clincher

They say that your first sentence is the most important. It sets the tone, the topic and the direction of your paragraph. However, your last sentence could be just as–or even more, significant.  It is the last impression your readers take with them, whether at the end of a long post or the end of a paragraph.

So while your topic sentence is used to set the focus for your paragraph, use the last one to comment and set your point.  It’s an effective way to drill down your argument.  Also, use a short sentence as your last sentence. Using a short bold sentence can do wonders to strengthen your tone of voice when done appropriately.

2. Mix Up Your Punctuation For Effect

Writers rarely mess with punctuation unless they have to.  Punctuation is essential to the way we read things. It gives your writing logic. This tip might leave you a bit skeptical, but this is one exercise that can really shake up your writing.

Think about it. By changing long sentences to short ones with a period or taking out commas, you will completely change the flow of your paragraph and, in some cases, be forced to rewrite the sentences to keep your original meaning.  In both cases, it will get you thinking about sentence variation and how your sentences can fit together in a totally different way.

3. Changing The Context Of Your Subject

When people read, they normally have a set idea of how words or things are spoken about. Try subverting that expectation and take a completely different approach. Talk about something in a different context.

This tip usually helps to get writers thinking poetically as it pushes them to describe things in more abstract ways. If you can personalize an abstract concept, talk about it with a different perspective, you can go a long way to give your sentences a unique sound.  An example:  “…a moment rolled by casually, camouflaged by regular gestures and ordinary habits, fooling you to think it was an everyday thing and nothing special.” Doubtless, your readers wouldn’t expect to read about something as abstract as a moment being spoken about like that.  A well crafted and unique sentence will keep them interested in reading more.

4. Mix It Up By Saying It Differently

For every phrase you write, there’s always at least one other way to say it differently.  If you have a thesaurus, use it. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have as a writer.  Not only that, but it can make your writing more versatile and fresh.

One other approach you can try is to come at your description or explanation from a different angle.  So, if it’s a rainy day in your short story, don’t say it was a rainy day. You can set up your scene just as well by saying it wasn’t a dry day, for instance.  Having that difference in description will open you up to ways in which you can creatively write about a scene. You can add, tweak and change details according to that one sentence, and really jazz up your paragraph. It’s all in your approach.

 

Giving some variation to your sentences can be a quick fix to keeping your sentences interesting. It will certainly give any stale writing techniques you have a much needed boost. So give a few of these tips a try and see what compelling sentences you can come up with.

 

 Reena Cruz  writes for the Investintech.com blog, where she writes about PDF converter technology and software in general. As a tech-geek, she enjoys learning about new tech trends and sharing productivity tool tips online.

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