Monday, March 19, 2007

Sentence Length

Someone has suggested to me that I should vary my sentence length in my writing, so that I don’t sound monotonous. Is sentence length something over which a copyeditor has control? Does a copyeditor ever tell an author to avoid monotonous writing by varying sentence length?

1 comment:

Pat said...

I think your question, like Lily's, is more about writing than copyediting. Copyeditors do not tell authors how to write; they fix errors in punctuation, grammar, style, and so forth, but they do not function as teachers or mentors to writers.

I am speaking in general, of course. There are a few—perhaps half a dozen over the course of the last twenty years of my copyediting practice—who sought guidance from me on the shape, content, etc., of their work. This is very rare.

If you are looking for guidance as a writer, I would say that you should read a tremendous amount of literary work, especially good poetry. Doing this will help you establish graceful rhythms in your writing. Frank is a wonderful writing teacher, by the way.