Tips for Writers: Creating Dynamic Sentences

BAH-da-da-DAHHhhh! BAH-da-da-DAHHHhhhh! BAH-da-da-DAHHHhhhh, BAH-da-da-DAHHHhhhh, BAH-da-da-DAHHHhhhh! Even if you’re not a classical music fan, you know the iconic opening from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Ludwig van Beethoven is the ultimate pin-up boy for one of the most important of all creative techniques: dynamics.

Dynamics is the use of unexpected juxtapositions. It generates the kind of excitement and energy that only variety and the unexpected can impart. The 5th is famous for its juxtapositions of loud and soft. But dynamics also means juxtaposing long and short, fast and slow. Without it, music can put an audience into a coma.

And so can writing. Here are a few dynamic juxtapositions you can use to keep your writing unpredictable and exciting:

  1. Focus on one thing per sentence. Don’t cram multiple descriptions into a single sentence: “Gouty, aching Sir Reginald trundled down the circuitous, weed-choked footpath en route to the ancient, crumbling wreck that was once the proud stately mansion built by his great-grandfather the Duke of Frickenham.” Break it up, please! “Gouty, aching Sir Reginal groaned as he set forth on the path. It was choked with weeds and toe-catching roots. But at the end—if he made it all the way—he would find the treasure he’d sought all these years: the unsurpassable mansion built by his great-grandfather, the Duke of Frickenham. The legendary estate would be his!”
  2. Watch out for redundant word usage. Grammatically incorrect? No. Coma-inducing? Yes! “Dick Morehouse stopped at his house for more food. He’d stopped here before for food, so he knew more food could be found here. But where was the food in the house housed?” Most redundancies are more subtle than this, but if you look for them, like ants in the pantry, you’ll find them!
  3. Use a mix of short and long sentences. Nothing will put your reader into a stupor faster than strings of sentences of the same length. But don’t be random about it, think character and situation: “Jenny ran! Faster than she’d ever run before, faster than she’d ever thought possible. “Adrenalin? Good,” she thought, “because right now I need all the chemical superpower I can get!” Her feet burned as if they were on fire, but the alternative was unthinkable. Except that now she was thinking about it, about what the man with the butcher knife would do if he caught her, and as she did the fire vanished and her feet turned to turbines. Damn the pain! She was the Flash, she was Thor, she was Wonder Woman, she was Ripley facing the Alien, she was…on the edge of a cliff!”

Make it dynamic!

Just for fun:

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Quips and Quotes, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Tips for Writers: Creating Dynamic Sentences

  1. Good pointers. – Loved the video, too.
    When I was taking a course in radio broadcasting and could choose the songs I wanted to play during my time slot, I followed “Bali Ha’i” with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” which has a very similar melody, just a lot heavier. 😉 Fun stuff…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am really enjoying your blog. Thank you for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. atimetoshare.me says:

    Thanks for the good advice. I’m about half way finished with my exquisite novel (LOL) and need every bit of information I can get. Guess I should start listening to classical music while I write.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oneta hayes says:

    You could have added one more short sentence. “She was.” 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. grAnnie Roo says:

    Sharp pointers with one of the top 5 renderings of Beethoven’s 5th. Let’s all do the time warp again! Only the vid one’s seriously better. *****

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sniderjerry says:

    Great essay. Have you ever read the boo, ON WRITING WELL, by William Zinsser? my favorite book on writing non fiction. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ssgirls910 says:

    Thank you for the tips! I need to learn how to write better! Thanks for being an encouragement to me!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow – forgot about those 2Cellos. They are fantastic! You are right, just listening to them and we can create a dynamic scene… I see a man being eaten by a whale. Actually, I saw that in the news, it actually happened. Luckily, the whale spit the man out! Thanks for a motivating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tina says:

    I laughed at this one. I know that I make at least some of those “boring” mistakes. Things to ponder…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TEP336 says:

    If you’re still looking for a really good laugh, go to Google and do an image search for “wikipedia run-on sentence funny”. Click on the first image, and enjoy. You won’t be disappointed. 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gary Fultz says:

    Guilty of all. I asked a writer friend to critique my writing. “Oh that’s easy, you write like you talk” Well ouch, ya, hmmm… “Let’s go fishing” I said.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amen, my friend! You remind me of my college English classes and time spent poring over Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Always good advice from someone who knows! Thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post. I really enjoyed the video. These two guys have a great concept of making the classics a thing for now. I really had a great time watching.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ron Bouchard says:

    Such good advice! Writing is a learning process. There is a conscience behind writing. A little voice says: “No, that’s just not right; something is wrong. We must listen to the voice, just as the Christian must listen to the Holy Spirit!
    Ron
    http://www.theburningheart.com

    Liked by 1 person

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