Lesson 2: The flow of things.A Lesson by Crashbang
Flow is seriously, seriously important.
''Where are you going?' She said grabbing the back of Matt's sweater twisting him back toward her.'
I really dont like that sentence.
I have my sister to thank for the fact that I don't write like that- not that you cant. One day I was up in her room and she is asking me to read one of my old chapters (still not completed) out loud. So I did for a little bit. About ten minutes in fact.
Those ten minutes are arguably one of the most important moments of my writing career so far. I simply looked through it, paused varying periods depending on commas and full stops and such, and edited there and then. Then, my writing didn't change. But as time passed and I reviewed other work and found myself reading the piece not out loud, but with the pauses for commas and such I found myself giving more in the critiques.
Take that comma out. Theres too many in the sentence and it reduces the flow. Change that comma for a full stop, change that full stop for a comma.
My style isn't your style, nor should you immediately scrap the progress you have made so far. Every writer has a style but at the same time every writer can improve the flow, reposition commas, restructure paragraphs - that too, is important.
The thing about flow is that regardless of the quality of your writing, if the flow isn't attended to, I myself would become irritated and be distracted. Nothing should distract from the writing itself - if anything flow should be invisible, holding the words upward for the reader to see, injecting pace where the story requires it or slowing and stopping the story with simple, short sentences. 'Jeremy pulled his gun and fired.' at the end of a paragraph is a sentence which readers will focus and hang on before the story speeds up again and you find out where his bullets went. 'His bullet sliced the air in it's miliseconds of flight, spinning like a lightning spinning top as it buried itself in the gas tank.' Would make a second sentence which speeds up the action a little bit but at the same time not too much. On the flip side, adding a simple comma to that first sentence - 'Jeremy pulled his gun, and fired.' is a jolt to the system, and not one I would enjoy. If you want to slow the sentence down further you include a little description of the movement, whereas a comma feels almost lazy.
On the other hand it is also slowing down the sentence, which isn't a bad thing if that is what you mean to do.
So lets define out flow shall we?
Commas a brief pause, full stops are longer pauses, paragraph breaks or new lines are longer pauses. Think about the grammar markings this way and you can then dictate and vary the flow of a story simply through its grammatical basics. Making a story flow and thus readable is the bedrock of that brilliant story you have thought up and want to extoll the virtues of - get it right and you have gone a long way toward glueing the readers eyes to the page.
Then of course, you just need everything else...
Anyway, to conclude, basic grammar and sentence structure alters the flow of a piece. Whatever you write, be sure to read it and think about it afterward, make the alterations and evolve. Mastering the flow of your writing is key to mastering your stories.
Hope this made sense. Class dismissed.
Added on December 31, 2009
Last Updated on December 31, 2009
AboutHi, my names Rob, and I am working towards being a writer, be it screen writing or novel writing. I always look to write originally, am always looking to improve. My writing is highly versatile - I ha..