Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's not just what you say. It's how you say it.

In my previous post I asked you to write one sentence to describe an approaching storm. Thank you to those who participated.

Few words or many words... any way you choose to paint your word pictures, remember you're writing for the reader who wants to feel the storm, see what you saw, hear what you heard. They want to experience your experience.

Here are some of my memories of being caught in a summer storms. The beach storm came out of no where. An ebony cloud spilled like grape Kool-aid across the sky as I was walking alone in sugar white sand.  All of the condos looked the same. I was half a mile away from ours. I could not distinguish one from the other, plus I had no cell phone. Thank goodness my honey was on the balcony motioning  for me. I never felt so terrified and alone trudging through sand, trying to "outrun" a storm barreling down.
  • My nose twitched with the detection of ozone, as the bruised sky flung palm-size spiked hail at the parched yard.

  • The wind whipped our red bud saplings like half a dozen frenetic ballerinas, and deforested their limbs.

  • The old porch swing chains rattled when the jet-black cloud raced up the street, splintered the wood, and snatched anything not rooted.

  • Thunder bombed, ricocheted my guts; lightning sizzled, and wind whipped beach sand at me like ammunition.

  • The sky unleashed chaos as the summer temperature drastically dropped, causing a steep rise in my blood pressure.

  • Thunderclaps rattled me. Streetlights at noon?! Tornado sirens squealed. Wind vortexed. I ran for my life.

What's your style? Do you prefer one of these sentence structures over the other? 

Often short sentences create more of a dramatic effect and pack a real punch. 

As you can see though, I am a fool for commas. 


Chatty Crone said...

Linda - my computer had a huge problem it has recovered from - for awhile anyway - lol. I just don't have your email - would you send?


Val said...

Sorry I didn't participate. I had commenter's block! I went back three times, thinking it over, but I had nothin'!

Of those selections above, I like the third one, about the porch swing. I'm also a fan of commas. Brevity is not my forte.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--Your examples are proof that you've got a gift with words.

A fool for commas? How about a nutso for elipsis?

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Stephen King is a master at this stuff---he described the sky in one of his older books in a single short sentence that I read and re-read because it was so well written---and you've just proven that you're no slouch either. Of course, those of us who read your blog and other work have known for a long time that you have a gift. You've given us great word pictures.

I don't really have a preference for structure. I think it depends on the paragraph as a whole. Sometimes those short sentences are best for keeping the tension high, and sometimes they feel out of place. That's part of the fun of writing, is determining which will convey the story we're trying to tell.

Pat Wahler said...

Short sentences move a reader swiftly along, while long sentences slow them down. What you use depends on what effect you're after.


Susan said...

Love all your storm descriptions, Linda. Enjoyed your walking rapidly through the sand as the storm approached, too. So glad Bill was on that balcony. Where would you have gone? Yikers. Take care and have a good Thursday. Susan

Connie said...

All of these are great descriptions. I think shorter descriptions are sometimes more immediate and effective, but not always.