By: Melissa Donovan
Nothing ruins a great story like weak words and poorly structured sentences.
We’ve all been there. You’re working through your first draft or perhaps making your way through revisions. The scene plays out in your mind like a movie. But when you try to put it into words, it just doesn’t flow right.
In literature, language is what makes a piece of writing tick. The plot, the characters, they move through time and space on their own accord, but the words you use to tell their story give it rhythm and clarity.
Today’s writing tips tackle issues with word choice and sentence structure. Choosing the right words to describe what’s happening in a piece of writing can be challenging. A writer might spend an hour looking for a word that accurately captures the sentiment that he or she is trying to convey.
Sentence structure is even more critical. A weak word is like a missed beat, but a weak sentence is discord. It confuses readers, pulls them out of the story, and breaks the flow of the narrative.
Imagining a scene and then putting it into words can be a smooth ride. Sometimes the words and sentences arrive fully formed and ready for press. Other times, the language is jumbled or flimsy. When dealing with word choice and sentence structure, it’s often best to simply go with the flow. Write what comes to mind, and then go back and clean it up during revisions. Some writers prefer to get the language as clear as possible during the first pass, and that’s okay too.
But just because a word doesn’t sound right or a sentence reads clumsily, that doesn’t mean it’s a throwaway. There are plenty of habits you can develop and techniques that you can apply to make your words resonate clearly and effectively.
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