I often equate writing a sentence to starting a jog ( or at least the way I start a jog) . The first few words/steps may be awkward, unbalanced and a sad attempt to find a rhythm.
A simple way to to gauge your writing rhythm is to take a concentration of sentences ( I recommend at least 5 sentences in consecutive order) and underline the first three words in each sentence.
Now look at what you have underlined. Do you use the same or similar words to begin multiple sentences? Do you start multiple sentences with nouns? Are you over- using elementary words like “the”, ” to”, “it” at the start of multiple sentences?
What I have found is that novice writers tend to use these old familiars to begin a sentence in an attempt to establish their pace.
Using old familiars has the following effect:
- Cause sentences to lack structural diversity
- A lack of structural diversity causes the reader to not read as closely
- A lack of close reading causes the reader to quickly lose interest.
Unless you’re Ernie Hemingway, old familiars cause sentences to stutter and stall before they even get going.
3 ways you can establish a more fluid, diverse writing rhythm is to:
- Edit down the three words to two or one word
- Replace the three words with a fresh transition word
- Begin the sentence with a verb
This editing tip can be applied to any type of writing…creative, informative, college application essay, or even a coy love letter to one Chris Pratt.
If you found this editing tip useful I’d like to hear from you. Thanks.