Thursday, December 27, 2018

Expand and Contract

I've spoken out in favour of some writing rules and against others. Here's one of my own I don't usually see discussed but that makes good writing come alive. Just like the mortar between bricks, good writing should...

Expand and Contract

The longer the sentences and paragraphs, the slower the action is happening. (Expand) This is perfect for context scenes, such as setting description or background. It also works when a character has to wait or is held up for some reason. When you’re in expansion mode, paragraphs can top 150 words.

The shorter the sentences and paragraphs, the faster the action is happening. (Contract) This is perfect for action scenes, such as fight scenes or romance scenes, and also for when a character is in a rush. When you’re in contraction mode, two-word sentences and one-sentence paragraphs are more common.

When you know how to expand and contract, your writing springs to life. The presentation of the words dictates the action to the point that adjectives and adverbs become annoying at best. You’ll never say my least favourite word, “suddenly”, again. The words themselves will be so sudden that word is eliminated.

This post also appears on Quora.

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