Great Sentences in Stories
While you might not be an author, you are a writer, no matter what you might think. That doesn’t mean you are a great writer, however. The following are a few guidelines that are necessary to create great sentences in stories.
Let’s skip the basics, such as including periods and capital letters. Let’s even skip spelling. When writing sentences in stories, sentence variety needs to be one of the first considerations you make when writing.
Bobby walked down the trail. Bobby saw some trees. Bobby saw some animals. Bobby saw some bad guys. Bobby ran back down the trail.
Okay, that is an example of what not to do. You will notice that every sentence started with the character’s name. Also, pay attention to the fact that all the sentences had four or five words in them. The writer made no attempt to vary the sentence length. They are all short sentences, and that is not a good idea when writing sentences in stories, or anytime for that matter.
When writing a story, vary the lengths of your sentences. Some of the sentences need to be short, but some also need to be long. Most of the sentences will fall somewhere in between. There is an exception to this rule. When you are writing action scenes, the sentences need to be mostly short or medium. This adds to the fast pace.
You should also be wary of beginning three sentences in a row with the same word. Try to change things up some. Don’t start every sentence the same way. If you do, you will never make great sentences in stories you write.
Add Details to the Sentences
Bobby walked down a trail. What type of trail? Was it actually downhill or was the author saying that Bobby walked on a trail? Was it a rocky trail, a dirt trail, or a concrete trail?
Bobby saw some trees. That isn’t very specific. Are the trees on the trail? Are they in the distance? What type of trees? If they are important enough to mention, give the reader a few details. For example, have the leaves changed color or fallen from the tree? If so, it allows the reader to know what time of year the story is taking place.
Bobby saw some animals. Again, the writer was not specific. Is the writer talking about bugs, snakes, birds, or some other type of animal? What were the animals doing?
Bobby saw some bad guys. “Some” isn’t always the best choice to describe anything. How many is “some?” Does Bobby see three bad guys or thirty bad guys? For that matter, are all the bad guys male? Are the bad guys far away in the distance or close by?
Bobby ran back down the trail. He walked down the trail, then turned around, and ran back down the trail. Is he on top of a hill? Was running on the trail dangerous? Did the bad guys see Bobby?
Revise the Sentences in Stories
Bobby walked along the dirt trail. He couldn’t see much except a lot of trees with red, orange, and brown leaves. Bobby then saw five wolves step out from behind the trees and glare at him silently. That was when Bobby noticed six men through the leaves not far behind the wolves. Not having a good feeling about the situation, Bobby ran back the way he had come.
That’s better. We’ve gone back and added some details to the sentences. We also introduced some variety to the sentences. Don’t stop there. Add more details.
Add More Details to Create Great Sentences in Stories (Again)
Not only does adding more details make the story more interesting, it also adds word count, something many beginning authors struggle to accomplish. Already, the paragraph has tripled in length. Most importantly, however, it sounds much more interesting. Don’t stop now, however. More can be done.
Do the wolves looked starved? Do they lick their large white teeth? How are the men dressed? Are they soldiers wearing camouflage? Are they after the wolves or Bobby? What is the weather like? Are there no sounds at all? Is Bobby hot or cold?
When writing good sentences in stories, try to include all the senses, not just what is seen. Do birds chirp in the distance or have they all migrated south? Was Bobby looking at the trees because he heard a wolf howling? Can he smell nearby campfire which might signify other people could be nearby? How does the air feel? Is he shivering or sweating? Does he have a taste in his mouth from the lunch he ate just minutes ago? Is his heart thumping hard against his chest?
Adding Even More Details to Create Great Sentences in Stories
Don’t worry about dialogue, that is a subject covered in a different lesson. Instead, consider what would you can add or change. How would you change the paragraph so far? Would you change it into multiple paragraphs? Would you add more emotions to the paragraph? For example, is Bobby running because he is terrified or is he running back to warn the others? What is he thinking?
Bobby walked along the dirt trail, wondering if he would run into the Wolf Raiders today. The village chieftain had sent him to watch the paths leading into the village for the raiders but he couldn’t see much except a lot of trees with red, orange, and brown leaves. Bobby then saw five wolves step out from behind the trees over a hundred yards away and glare at him silently.
The wolves looked like they were starving. Even at a distance, Bobby could see the wolves’ ribs under their skin. They also looked tired with their heads hanging low, their tongues hanging out as they panted in the unseasonable heat.
Bobby stopped, knowing that if he could see the wolves, the raiders must not be far behind. Swallowing looked nervously around for them.That was when Bobby noticed six men through the leaves not far behind the wolves. They were wearing swords with bows strapped to their backs. They didn’t look like they would care too much that he was only twelve years old and didn’t have any weapons.
One of the men pointed at Bobby. Seeing this, and definitely not having a good feeling about the situation, Bobby ran back the way he had come. He had to reach the village and tell them what he had found. He only hoped he would reach them before the wolves caught up with him.
We started with one paragraph that was 24 words long. We ended up with one that was 233 words long. Not only was it ten times as long, but it is more than ten times better. Adding these types of details and sentence variety improve writing dramatically.
How Would You Create Great Sentences in Stories you write?
Do you think you could add even more details to the sentences in the story? After all, now it actually is starting to sound like a story. If you said “Yes, there are more details I could add,” then you are correct. We still haven’t discussed what time of day the story is taking place.
Has the unseasonable weather been happening for a while? Why are the raiders coming and why should the village fear them? How did the chieftain even know that someone needed to be sent to watch for the Wolf Raiders? Why send a twelve-year-old instead of an older man? There are so many questions left unsaid and unanswered. Try to think about what you would do to improve the writing even more. Consider all the ways you can create great sentences in stories you write.