I’ve just finished Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. You may be familiar with his mesmerizing book, Timothy, or notes of an abject reptile. In this little book, Klinkenborg discusses how education and precedent lead people to write overly long, complicated sentences. He stresses writing clear sentences that say what you mean them to say. All the rest will fall into place from there.
I’m not sure if writing clearly is as simple as Klinkenborg makes it out to be but I did cull a few gems from the text that I’d like to share –
You can’t revise or discard what you don’t consciously recognize.
A cliche is dead matter.
It causes gangrene in the prose around it, and sooner or later, it eats your brain.
Your job as a writer is making sentences.
Your other jobs include fixing sentences, killing sentences, and arranging sentences.
for the next several weeks, I am going to focus on writing at the sentence level and not worry about the piece as a whole. When I get to the end of the sentences, I will look at the big picture.