Writing Bites #2

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Writing tips can be invaluable. From something as big as how to structure a writing routine, to something as small as when and when not to use an exclamation point.

I use tips I’ve picked up along the years every day, and am always interested to find new ones.

I decided to start posting a tip (Bite) for writing two or three times a week. If you’re interested in reading more, or if they’re helpful, please let me know in a comment and I’ll keep posting them. All of these tips might work for you or only one or two of them might. But I’ve tried hundreds of different things over the years, and many of them have helped me improve as a writer.

Maybe a few of them can help someone else. If you’ve got a tip of your own, drop it in a comment and I’ll feature it in a future Writing Bites post.


Writing Bite #2

Vary sentence structure to create pace.

If you have a paragraph filled with long sentences, and those long sentences are filled with commas, then it can sometimes slow the pace of a sequence. If you’re writing an action sequence, you don’t want this to happen.

Short, sharp sentences work well in action sequences–as well as in any sequence–to generate pace and a sense of movement.

Breaking longer sentences up into smaller sentences also works well. Even if those long sentences are description, breaking them up can help make it easier and faster to read.

Example

The car swerved, throwing his head against the window, stitching pain across his skull and turning his vision white. 

Could become

The car swerved. His head hit the window. Pain stitched across his skull and turned his vision white.

The shorter sentences have more impact, which in the case of this action scene works well.


Does this method work for anyone else? Or do you have another way to generate pace in your writing? It will be cool to hear, so let me know in a comment below…

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About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 11/02/2015, in writing, writing bites, writing tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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