Thursday, July 4, 2013

#8 Critique Partner Series - Tightening Up Sentences

I am in no way a professional.  I don't have a fancy education to back up writing (that is reserved for mathematics), but I do know what I like to read and I do know when I read something that doesn't quite jive for me.  So WELCOME to my CRITIQUE PARTNER SERIES! Much of my advice you can find everywhere else on the internet.  None of it is professional.  Annnnnd BEGIN!

#8 Critique Partner Series – Tightening Up Sentences
I took a short hiatus from my CPS because I needed to recharge after an invigorating week at the writers' conference.  Now I'm back, and having workshopped LitD, I want to take a moment to talk about one thing I learned.  Let's start with that lovely television series we all know and love:  Law and Order.  Now let's talk about the most well known part of Law and Order: the DUN DUN.  What I love about the DUN DUN is all the force packed into it.  You hear that sound and you know justice has been served.  

After workshopping LitD, the fabulous Paul Cody told me that my sentence structure and grammar were all where they needed to be.  The problem with my writing was my DUN DUN.  My sentences say, "DUN DUN...dun."

Here are a couple of before and afters:

Before: I think about it for a moment.
After:  I think for a moment.

Before: I inhale and few deep breaths before returning to my bed.
After:  I inhale deeply before returning to bed.

Before:  My thoughts break off when I hear a noise--something akin to a thud--from outside my window.
After:  I hear a noise--a thud--outside my window.

Before:  Perhaps she is lost and afraid to be out beyond curfew.
After:  Perhaps she is lost and afraid.

Before:  The boy shouts at her.
After:  The boy shouts.

Before:  She releases the can, and it rolls into the shadows.
After:  The can rolls into the shadows.

And so on.

Notice how each new sentence is more succinct.  Each says the same thing as before, but now they're better.    They pack more punch.  Justice is served.  DUN DUN!

My Question for you:
What are some of the things you do tighten up your sentences?