Even great writers will tell you: writing has never been an easy stuff. Granted to some extent we are all writers for doing some sort of writing now and then – letters, notes, mails and the like, which I’d call informal writing. Here you may not need to worry much about the quality of your writing. But when you are writing for a wider public then things become more serious and complicated. You have to know what you want to convey to the reader and how best you can do it to avoid the least confusion and monotonous reading.
One word of caution, though. The purpose of this post is not to tell you the ABC’s of writing. I just want to hint you on how the use of sentences is important in delivering the right meaning. If you are already an experienced writer this may not be for you.
Should our sentences be long or short? How long? How short? That’s the dilemma that writers often face. Any writer. Don’t feel awkward. It’s simple. Ask yourself questions. Do you want to be specific? You want to get to the point? Want to add stress or punch? Yes? Use short sentences.
Do you want to convey intense emotion, especially in writing fiction? Then use longer sentences.
Too much use of either the short or long sentence makes you appear a novice. Worse it bores the reader. And you don’t want to. Do you? What you are interested in is producing writing that will not suck; that will keep your reader tuned. Right? You need to keep the right balance. A good mix of short and long sentences is what makes a well-balanced writing. How to get that “good mix”? Relax. There’s a “simple formula”.
If you want to know more about the “simple formula” for sentence lengths, read Kristy Taylor’s Varying Your Sentence Lengths. “Learning the ‘rhythm of writing’ isn’t something you’ll learn overnight, but with practice you’ll catch areas in your writing that lack variety and you’ll learn how to transform your sentences into memorable prose,” says Kristy in concluding her article.
To your writing.
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].