Long and Fabulous

Published July 11, 2012 by Elsa Pla

Constructing Long Sentences

Here’s the companion exercise to yesterday’s post (Short and Powerful), also from Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin. This exercise is a bit more challenging.

“Write a half-page to a page of narrative, up to 350 words, which is all one sentence.”

My attempt serves the purpose of the story, but it’s a short, rambling passage without much substance. I need to work on this exercise some more. Studying a mentor author, such as Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, or José Saramago, will help.

Situation: A teenage girl gets stung by a bee and has an allergic reaction. A friend administers CPR.

The ball bounces behind one of the big trashcans that’s overflowing with candy wrappers, chip bags, and paper cups, and stops behind a can of Mountain Dew. I squat down to retrieve it and – ouch! – something pricks me on the tip of my nose.

Strange things happen quickly. I suddenly feel too warm, and my heart is beating really fast, and the noise in the lounge is replaced by a loud ringing in my ears, and I’m underwater holding my breath, but that can’t be because I’m looking up at the peeling blue ceiling, and, whoa! now Luke’s face is right on top of mine, and he’s taken off his glasses and is gazing into my eyes, and his eyes are the color of milk chocolate, and he whispers my name, “Vicky,” and kisses me on the lips right here on the floor of the senior lounge, and the world fades to black.

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