‘I like sentences that don’t budge though armies cross them,’ says Virginia Woolf (2007: 99). Just as words are the building blocks of sentences, sentences become, in any work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, the proxy of our thoughts – the distilled representatives of our ideas. A sentence that maintains its integrity over time is a worthy one! If we read back over pieces we’ve written long ago, and those pieces don’t make us cringe or feel self-conscious, then we can be sure we’ve written sentences that won’t budge even when armies (or time, or editors or readers for that matter) cross them! The pace and tempo of a chapter or a whole book is impacted by the length of its sentences. We’ll take a look at how sentence length can be used as a specific tool to create tension or give the reader a languorous look into the inner world of a character’s thoughts. We’ll also explore some common sentence structure errors and shed some light on the idea of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in grammar.
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