Short and Powerful

Published July 10, 2012 by Elsa Pla

The Power of Short Sentences

When is it okay to use only short sentences? Try this exercise and reflect on the process and the results:

“Describe some kind of tense, intense action in a paragraph of narrative 100-150 words long, using sentences of seven or fewer words.” (From Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin) It’s okay to use sentence fragments if they serve your purpose.

My attempt:

The boy looked this way and that. No one was on the sidewalk. No one was on the road. He didn’t see faces behind windows. He didn’t hear voices or sounds. The neighborhood was as silent as a stone. And that’s how his heart should be. As a stone. Quiet. Cold. Instead, it was pounding like a drum. His gaze swept the street again. He needed to be sure. Finally, he knocked on the door. He waited. No one answered. The pounding in his chest intensified. He knocked again. If no one came, he’d give Freddie the signal. Freddie, who was hiding behind a bush. Who was ready to jump the fence. He knocked again. They’d do it. They’d break into the house. Two kids with hearts of stone. Still all quiet. He got ready to give the signal. Suddenly, the door opened.

This was fun; try it! 🙂

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