Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2012 -- AND and BUT

    "Fluid, easy wording keeps attention on the story, not the writing.--John Long WRITERS LITTLE BOOK OF WISDOM

      One of the first writing no-nos drilled into a writer is to avoid starting sentences with "and" and "but." The second is to stop peppering a page or having "crops of" (i.e., clusters of) "and" and "but." Why? Because repetitions like these drone in a reader's mind and, after a while, on a subconscious level, keep a reader from enjoying the story.
    In drafting the first copy of a story, "and" is particularly used in by the "stream of story consciousness" and "writing by the seat of your pants" writer. This makes for sentences and clause being strung together into what's called a LS--a Long Sentence--or a RO--a Run On sentence. Thus in revision, it's  necessary to look at any sentence that takes up two full lines. Consider this: if a sentence is considered 20 words, two lines in Times New Roman, 12 point font, can run anywhere from 24 to as high as 39 words or more. Long sentences are devilishly awkward to understand because they contain too many elements (clauses and prepositional phrases) as well as too many ideas.
    As to the use of "but," the word has it's place now and then as a conjunction. However, if that conjunction joins two very long sentences, the whole may become overly complicated and require a reader to stop and reread to make sense of what's going on.  As most writers know, nothing a writer does should stop a reader from enjoying the tale.
    Since clarity is also paramount for a reader staying engrossed in the story, it's a wise storyteller who does a pass through their work for "and" and one for "but" and minimize their use. So, add "and" and "but" to your revision cheat sheet. You do have a check list for revising, don't you?
    The blog topic for August 1 will be a few words on Big and small.

KARMA AND MAYHEM, a paranormal fantasy romance to be published soon by Soul Mate Publishing -

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