Forget about lengthy articles on how to write the research paper, the essay, the short story, the novel. All writing starts with one thing: the sentence. It builds on one sentence at a time, one awesome sentence at a time. We must learn how to write awesome sentences if we are going to keep readers reading.
Keys for How to Write Awesome Sentences
He ate breakfast.
Boorrrinng! How about ?Dave gobbled pancakes? or ?Susan nibbled toast?? Don?t just offer vague information. Make it pop! See if you can change these yawning sentences into statements that make readers sit up and take notice.
He went to the store.
She was sick.
He sat in the chair.
Use specific action verbs.
One of keys to writing awesome sentences is to avoid using generic verbs or ?to be? verbs whenever possible. Let?s look at the above examples.
- He went to the store.
Okay. Pretty boring and generic. Did he jog, amble, shuffle, drive, whiz, stomp, or crawl? Let?s substitute ?crawled.?
? ? ? ?He crawled to the store.
Hmm. With just one substitution, we imply a great deal about this person and that creates interest in the mind of the reader.
- She was sick.
Uh-oh. There?s one of those ?to be? verbs. Let?s clarify her illness. Did she: vomit, pass out, faint, sneeze, cough, keel over? Let?s say
? ? ? ?She vomited.
Much better. Now readers know more about her illness in just one word and are curious about why.
- He sat in the chair.
No one just sits. Did he slouch? Shift? Squirm? Sleep? Perch? Flop? Let?s change it to
? ? ? He squirmed in the chair.
We imply that he is impatient or that he has been sitting a long time. Maybe he is a child or he is uncomfortable. All of these things cause readers to want to know more and that is ultimately what we want, isn’t it?
Use specific adjectives.
Did you know that there are fifty Eskimo words for snow? Things are not green or brown, they are forest, lime, hunter, sable, chocolate, mahogany. Don?t say house when you could say villa, hut, mansion, Georgian, American 4-square, condominium. When you first introduce someone, give them a name and a little bit of relevant information about them. Let?s try this with our sample sentences.
- He crawled to the store becomes Five-year-old Bubby crawled to the vegetable stand.
- She vomited becomes Vivian vomited blood.
- He squirmed in the chair becomes Teddy squirmed in the dentist?s chair.
Try these two basic tips for how to write awesome sentences and see how they transform your writing from boring to gripping. Looking for inspiration? Click here?and here. Want some basic tips for writing longer works? Click here.