Friday, October 31, 2008

Every Sentence Counts, Part 2

“A clear sentence is no accident.” – William Zinsser in On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction.

How true. I remember spending as much a forty-five minutes writing and rewriting what started out as a simple, one-paragraph e-mail. Every time I read a sentence, a better word or phrase came to mind. I struggle the same way with my stories. Sometimes, I give up and submit the story to my critique group to see if anyone there has the same problem with a sentence’s wording that I do. And even if no one comments, I often change the structure anyway. Mr. Zinsser makes another interesting comment. He states that sometimes the best way to correct a problem sentence is to delete entirely.

This book is directed toward nonfiction writing, but the advice provided applies to fiction also. The writing is verbose and pompous in places, but it’s worth the effort to find the gems within.

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