Wednesday, November 11, 2009


For my first blog, I'm sharing an excerpt of an interesting note I received today from a fellow critiquer. Thanks, Newt, for your thoughts on SENTENCE FRAGMENTS.

The sentence is a monumental invention of the human species, crafted to give meaning to the sometimes complex and extended thought of its originator, and there is no reason to truncate the logic of that thought or its embedded insights to meet the crabbed and confused needs of the least perceptive members of the audience. If the reader is not smart enough to follow an intelligent thought to its fully developed conclusion, well,[hell with 'em].

Please give some thought to this when next you write something like:

“In the west, the sun setting soft upon the ocean below, Birds pooping on the manifold cars parked below in the spreading shadow How often the need, the burning desire even, for washing the vibrant red Porsches and Ferraris, bright and shiny all.” Where have all the damn verbs gone? (Aren’t you glad I didn’t use your prose as an example of this semi-literate nonsense?)

The need for complete sentences survives even in written records of oral conversation, that is to say, dialog. The fact that conversations between intimates often omit words that are tacitly understood by the participants does not excuse the omission of those words in written dialog.

Does the use of full sentences result in less than perfect transcription of what might be said in a real conversation? Of course. But our job as writers is not to transcribe reality in all its incomprehensible incompleteness, but to communicate with the reader.

Just as the reader absorbs simple conversational tags like “he said,” without hiccup, so does the reader swallow, “Did you eat?” “No, did you?” “OK, let’s go eat,” when the actual exchange was, “Jeet?” “No, jew?” “Skweet.”

Write Every Day!


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