Summary: First You Write a Sentence By Joe Moran
Summary: First You Write a Sentence By Joe Moran

Summary: First You Write a Sentence By Joe Moran

Listen, read and write for the sentences, because the sentence must be got right or nothing will be right.

A sentence is not about self-expression but about editing your thoughts into a partly feigned fluency, building a ladder of words up to a better self.

Train your ears, for how a sentence sounds in the head is also what it says to the heart.

The bones of a sentence are just a noun and a verb, so put the right nouns and verbs in the right slots and the other words fall into place around them.

Good prose is not a windowpane: a sentence reads best when the writer has tasted and relished the words, not tried to make them invisible.

Your sentences should mimic the naturalness of speech, so long as you remember that speech is not really natural and that writing is not really like speech.

Short words are best, for their clarity and chewy vowels, but the odd long word in a sentence draws just the right amount of attention to itself.

Verbal economy in a sentence is a virtue but an overprized one: words are precious but they need to be spent.

Learn to love the full stop, and think of it as the goal toward which your words adamantly move—because a good sentence, like a good life, needs a good death.

If you keep the phrases short, and leave the longest phrase until last, the reader can cut a long sentence up into pieces in her head and swallow them whole.

Your sentences should sound slightly more naive than you are, for good writing is done with a cold eye but an open heart, and it is better to be always clear than always right.

The reader can live with more repetition—of both words and syntax—than you think, and these echoes within and between your sentences shed light on what you meant to say.

Vary the length of your sentences, and your words will be filled with life and music.

Because sentences have to live alongside each other, not all of them can dazzle the reader with their brilliance.

You can change the whole tone of a sentence by moving it from the end of a paragraph to the start of a new one, and vice versa.

Shorten your paragraphs: white space between sentences never fails to be welcoming.

A paragraph is not a single topic hammered home with proofs, but a rhythm made by the sentences rubbing up against each other, a rhythm which is itself the argument.

A reader needs no chaperone: signposting should be invisible and the sentences cohere through suggestive arrangement, not coercive connection.

Voice is the holding energy that glues sentences together, the elusive elixir of coherence that gives whatever it is you want to say a home.

A sentence is a gift from writer to reader, one that should never have to be bought—with boredom, confusion, the duty to admire the giver, or anything else.