Run-on Sentence to One Sentence

On Monday in one of my writing classes, our instructor gave us an exercise: write a run-on sentence.  As long as you can.  No rules; just write.  Then we had to write a seven word sentence, a six word sentence, a five word sentence, and so on until we finished with a one-word sentence.  When we’d finished that exercise, we turned it around and started with a one-word sentence, finishing with a run-on sentence.

It was an interesting exercise to contrast the difference between writing with no restrictions and writing with tight restrictions (or rules).  Both were, in their own way, challenging.  I’m an editor; writing a run-on sentence was hard.  There were so many places where I just wanted to put in a period and start another sentence, but I was supposed to keep going.  Yet that was when the writing flowed easily.  When I had to write the shorter sentences, and count each word in the sentence, my writing began to sound silly, chopped, forced.

Here’s what I came up with in class:

My favourite music is country music, but it wasn’t always and I should clarify that I don’t like any and all country music — I like country music because so many country songs tell a story, like the old joke goes: “Play a country song backwards and you’ll get back your wife, your kids, your job, your house” — that’s stories, although I like the positive stories better, the ones with a “feel-good” note or a lasting value, the ones that make you think for a while or just hit you “right there” and make you ache or cry or want to write such a story yourself.  My brother gave me this music appreciation.  He played country radio all day.  I learned the tunes, chords.  The music behind the words.  It sang within.  I felt.  Learned.

It was interesting to me to play with the differences in writing, when there were rules or no rules.  There was a time when I wrote for fun, just to play with the words and tell the stories.  Now, before I even start writing, I’m aware of word count, whether or not I can use first or second person, grammar and spelling and so many other considerations.  These are, of course, part of a writer’s life; as an editor, I understand the necessity of articles of a certain length and type.  As a writer, I just want to write.  Thus I strive for balance between the two and in it all, to keep that joy of just playing with words and sentences.

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  1. Koala Bear Writer February 12, 2011
  2. Jim Murdoch February 12, 2011

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