I’ll hazard a guess that you are like me. Stop cringing.
What I mean is you love nearly every word in your manuscript. You infuse your sentences with wisdom, jocularity, or sorrow. Or at least you try to do that. Some sentences and paragraphs sing to you. Others mutter into their oatmeal.
I’ve spent time wondering why some sentences warble like Beverly Sills or Lady Gaga (note my clever multigenerational reference), and others have speech impediments and lie flat on the page.
The first kind of sentence propels the story forward or has the uncanny ability to stop the reader in their tracks to say, “Whoa. That is one heck of a sentence.” The flatfooted sentences also stop readers to give them a chance to think, “Why am I reading this drivel?”
Sure, sure, sure, some sentences play an important utilitarian role to set the scene, give the reader a chance to regroup, or help with pacing. Not every sentence can, or should, rock the world off its axis and cause the Pulitzer Prize Nominating Committee to wake up and smell the printer ink.
However, I have
hundreds dozens many several one or two sentences in my novel that haunt me. Like a song stuck in my head, the words play on repeat. Every time I read/think about the words I think, “Hot damn, Robin. That is one heck of a sentence.”
(Here’s a little known fact. Songs stuck in your head are called ‘earworms.’ For my German readers, they are called ‘ohrwurms.’ Don’t believe me? Look it up.)
Do you have sentences or sections in your novel, poem, or letter to your illicit lover that sing to you? The ones that never fail to please? Or drive you crazy because you hear it in your head? Will you share it with us?
Here is mine. As a bit of an intro, my main character was selfish, brash, and overly confident . . . as in . . . downright unpleasant to be around. When her mom dies, she has a talk with herself.
“The last, and most important promise I made to myself was if Mom was alive, she would be proud of my behavior. I would make my life full of value, meaning, and friendship. I cast off my heavy coat of pomposity and donned a more comfortable one. It was made of humility and lined with humanity.”
Someone call Mr. Pulitzer. We have a winner.
What’s in your novel?