There are a number of ways you can incorporate variety into your writing. This lecture focuses specifically on two: 1) sentence length, and 2) sentence function.
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My writing is boring and "lifeless." How can I add variety to spice up my essays?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com May 24, 2023, 12:59 pm ad1c9bdddf
It's been said that variety is the spice of life. And if you look around, it's true. Think about the variety of flowers that you can grow in a garden: roses, tulips, lilies, begonias, daisies, and so on. Likewise, think of the variety of foods we eat every day and every week. From hamburgers and hot dogs to hummus and horseradish, variety characterizes all that we do.
But imagine for a moment that the world were different. Imagine that we had only one type of flower--in every garden, in every city. Our appreciation of flowers, as well as their ability to hold our attention, would be greatly diminished. Imagine further that only one type of food were available. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner--only one choice. If this were the case, rather than enjoying our meals, we would probably dread them. It would be a boring world indeed.
Just as variety captures our attention and holds our interest in nature, your writing also needs variety if it is going to capture the attention and hold the interest of your readers. There are a number of ways you can incorporate variety into your writing. This lecture will focus specifically on two: 1) sentence length, and 2) sentence function.
The first method of adding variety to your writing is relatively straightforward: sentence length. Most professional writing, i.e., newspapers, magazines, journals, novels, etc., consists of sentences that display a variety of lengths: some short, some average, some long. Sentence length plays an important role in establishing rhythm and developing momentum in your writing. In general, sentence lengths can be divided into the following categories:
Very short: 1-4 words
Short: 5-10 words
Average: 11-18 words
Long: 19-27 words
Very long: 28 or more
Consider the opening words of Mickey Spillane's I, the Jury in terms of sentence lengths:
"I shook the rain from ...