“Sentences: It’s All in the Details” by Valerie Allen


There are several types of sentences and each conveys information to the reader in a different manner. 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.

Clarifying sentences:  help make the topic clearer.

Inmate comfort was not a top priority with the warden. It was no secret that 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.
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Valerie Allen, psychologist, author, and speaker has published fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Her articles have been published nationwide in parenting magazines. Valerie offers writing presentations for novice and experienced authors. She has just published a self-help book called Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony. Read more about it at Amazon.

Valerie can be reached at her website and VAllenWriter@cs.com.

Read Valerie’s previous guest post, “Your 25 Word Pitch.”

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About Lisa Taylor

Hello! I'm an author, and in my time as an author I've realized that there are thousands of authors out there that just don't get the attention they deserve. So I'm hosting this "Writer's Block Party" so you can get to know the people that create the stories we all love!
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2 Responses to “Sentences: It’s All in the Details” by Valerie Allen

  1. jaimiengle says:

    Thanks for the breakdown in structure, Valerie. I never looked at sentences that way before. Now I can go back and see where I’ve been doing this, and incorporate some of these tactics where I don’t. Good article!

  2. Pingback: “Repetitive Redundancies” by Valerie Allen | Writer's Block Party!

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