A single crowded sentence means giving up all the possible relations among shorter sentences — the friction, the tension, the static electricity that builds up between them.
— from Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
I love Hemingway for his sentences. I did not know this is why I love him. I would read his books and be unable to explain my
infatuation admiration. “His writing is lean,” I’d say. “It is tight. The words are simple but the implications are complex.”
“He says so much with so few words.”
There is story happening behind his words. And I don’t know how he does it.
The sentence I quoted above, from Klinkenborg’s small, concise book, gives a clue. When I practiced writing as a craft, my group once wrote pieces using only simple sentences: no conjunctions, no clauses. When we read our practice aloud, our works sounded like Hemingway. Lean. Simple. Direct.
The lack of transitions, the absence of explanations, the periods without ands or buts — these vacancies create tension. They credit the reader with the intelligence to make leaps in the spaces between the words, in the gaps between the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next.
My homework tonight is to study the simple sentence. Next write, I will use them.
For the month of November, I will be participating in NaBloPoMo and plan to publish every day of the month. Usually, I will publish a 10-minute free write, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Follow along with the tag #NovemberDaily.