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Monday, June 13, 2016

Bet Your English Teacher Never Taught You This About Sentences

I love welcoming guest bloggers. Most writers do a bit of everything and today's guest is one of those writers. She heads up book fairs. She edits. She helps writers with their marketing. She writes short stories and makes sure they get read by publishing on Kindle. And--as you can see--she shares her knowledge with fellow writers. And, quite honestly, after many graduate level courses in grammar, I never thought to look at sentences quite this way. 

Sentences: It’s All in the Presentation
Valerie Allen

There are several types of sentences and each conveys information to the reader in a different way. Varying the type of sentences in your manuscript will help the reader stay focused and add interest.

Here are four different types of sentences and their uses.

Controlling sentences: name and control the topic.

The prison was damp and cold in the winter. It was humid and hot in the summer.

Clarifying sentences: help make the topic clearer.

Inmate comfort was not a top priority with the warden. It was no secret a high percent of his annual bonus was, in part, based on reduction in the cost of running the facility. Discussion of the utility bills took up a major portion of his weekly staff meetings.

Completing sentences: add specific details.

There was no air conditioning at the Cadejama Prison in Death Valley. The cells had no windows to open in the spring to take away the humidity, nor in the summer to relieve the oppressive heat. In winter the inside temperature never exceeded 40 degrees. The only attempt at climate control for the inmates came in December, with the issue of one thin well-used blanket.

Period Sentence: delays the most important thought and deliberately withholds it from the reader to create a special climax.

Confined in her cell day after day, she began to go mad.

The first three types of sentences are cumulative. They begin with the main clause and continue with details. The period sentence is more powerful because it offers known information at the start of the sentence and saves the unknown detail for the end.

The way we arrange words in a sentence brings our story to life, adds interest, and makes a significant impression on the reader. Sentence structure can make a good story great.

Valerie Allen, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition.

She is a co-founder of Authors for Authors, which supports new and experienced authors with book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars. Authors from across the US have had their books displayed at two Florida book fairs held in March and November sponsored by

Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB, Twitter, Google+ and at or

~ Valerie Allen ~                                
 Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Write Publish Sell!
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
The Prodigal Son
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer the Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection, Vol 1

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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