How To Write Sentences for Fiction

An old woman in a wheelchair sitting next to a tombstone

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Likewise, a single sentence can tell a thousand stories.

Everything before a sentence is structured in some form. Writing sentences is like talking, and it is the words that come out and have meaning.

The way you talk and the words you use are unique to you.

Listed below are the fundamental writing methods you will use to convey what is happening in your scenes.

  • Action: This is what a character is doing in the scene
  • Dialogue“: Is anytime 2+ characters speak. This is conversation and verbal conflict. Dialogue progresses the story, revealing something about the characters, exchanging information, and humor.
  • Narrative: This is everything going on in the background that connects pieces in a story. It is the setting, time, tone, and place.

Every scene should have a balance between action, dialogue, and narrative.

By combining these three elements, readers will be more engaged in the text. The structure of their styles breaks a repetitive flow, and their content keeps a nice switch for short attention spans.

Sentence Flow

The amount of words put into a sentence actually impacts the pace someone reads. I could give you multiple descriptions on what I mean and ways to effectively do this, but the image below does it best.

Picture of a post giving an example of the proper use of sentence length and flow

In addition to flow, another important device in writing sentences, is voice.

Active Voice

A sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. It follows a clear subject + verb + object. It is describing something that is happening, as it is happening.

Example: Gary ran to the store, even though dark clouds were pouring down rain.

Passive Voice

Is more of a description of event that happened

Example: Rain from the dark clouds overhead soaked Gary on his way to the store

Changing your voice can tremendously improve your writing

Passive voice must be between 5% and 8%.  

Here is a list of passive words you should try to eliminate from your writing to reduce passive voice.

These describe a state of being instead of the act of doing

Published by authoraidwriting

Helping Writers Write!

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