CWM: #15 — No sentence variation

Sometimes, sentences start to stack up. When that happens, they can feel as if they’re too similar to each other. In those spots, it’s good to check how those sentences differ. Because if you’re not careful, they can all sound the same and feel bland.

See what I mean?

I’ve caught sentences like this back-to-back recently. The words themselves remind me of driving on a Louisiana highway. Which if you’ve never done that before, it’s a lot like riding a horse: bumpy.

This can affect the story’s flow. It’s hard to keep reading if everything is smooth, then bumpy, then smooth, and then bumpy. Just like in real life, readers may try to get off that street.

It’s hard to find these spots as the writer though. The sentences make sense, and they’re correct. They also can sound right in your head.

I find the best way to approach this is to take a day to check through every sentence in a short story or in a chapter. Note if they are structured the same way three times in a row or more.

Another way is to wait. Come back to it after a few weeks and read through it. If it sounds bumpy or bland, highlight that section. Later, go back through to see how many sentences are similarly structured.

This isn’t something that usually takes over a whole story but rather a handful of small spots. It’s a good thing to keep a lookout for though.

I hope this helps!

Want more?

#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 — Vagueness for tension
#3 — Repeating words for emphasis
#4 — Common misused words
#5 — Misusing hyphens

#6 — Unnecessary details
#7 — Not developing characters
#8 — The words feel and felt
#9 — Overusing character names
#10 — Adding too many details with commas

#11 — Different types of dashes
#12 — Not using plain language
#13 — Dialogue tags vs. action beats
#14 — Misusing commas

#16 — Misplaced modifiers
#17 — Characters with similar names
#18 — When to start new paragraphs
This was originally posted on my writing blog.

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