I have the pleasure of being your instructor for this week's topic on writing dramatic sentences. Fiction has many techniques but they all ride on "sentences." If your sentences aren't working, your fiction isn't working.
Here's the first lesson
I went back to the basics of sentence structure. There are only four types of sentences in English. (Yes, that's all we have to work with.) They are:
Simple: subject + verb
Compound: subject + verb + conjunction + subject + verb.
Complex: subordinate conjunction + subject + verb, (comma) subject + verb.
Compound-complex: a compound and a complex sentence joined by a conjunction.
These are the basic building blocks for every page you will ever write. So you ask, what's a dramatic about them? How could Margaret Mitchell, the Brontës, and Jane Austen do magic with these building blocks? Here's how.
Seven Power of Rules
1. The simpler the better. The clear, simple sentence packs more power than a long string of clauses.
2. Keeping #1 in mind, a variety of sentence structures is preferred to repetition of just one. Even one paragraph of only simple sentences disturbs the reader.
Take the first page of your wip and check out your sentences for variety and length. Are you favoring one type of sentences or mixing them up?
Believe it or not --as I revised my 4th ms, the 1st one that sold in 1997, I did this for EVERY sentence. It's easier if you do this as you go along, but if not, do it period. So brew yourself a fresh cup of java and settle down with your first page and analyze it!
I'll check back tomorrow to give feedback and encouragement.