Welcome to another Appointment with the Phrase Doctor! Come in and take a seat. Today it's time to talk about something every writer needs to master. Flow. It's that special something that makes your writing sound smooth as silk or choppy as the
Atlantic in a
Flow grows out of the basic mood you're setting for a scene or story. If you're writing a sensual scene between two lovers, you want readers to feel that sensuality as they read. Having all your sentences come across as choppy is jarring to the reader and definitely kills the sexy mojo. For example:
She ran her hands over his chest. His muscles tensed. She loved the feel of his growing excitement under her fingertips. God, this excited her!
The problem with that scene as it's described is that it's not sensual, even though all the words are there that could make it sensual. The flow is all wrong. Now look at it edited for flow issues:
She ran her hands over his chest and felt his muscles tense. God, she loved the feeling of his growing excitement under her fingertips!
By using different sentence structure other than the simple sentence, the author is able to create a sense of mood with the flow he or she chooses.
Now if you're looking to show fear or heightened excitement about something bad about to happen, a bunch of simple sentences can really highlight that. Using single words and phrases in a staccato type paragraph can work even better. For example:
She heard a noise behind her. It was the cat she'd seen on the stairs below. Wasn't it? A knock. Scratching sounds on the wall. A heavy sound sent terror through her. Footsteps? But the house was supposed to be abandoned. One. Two. They were coming closer.
See? The flow of scenes is created through sentence and word choice. Don't do all simple sentences. It often sounds childish and makes your writing difficult to follow. Nothing ruins a story faster than a lack of flow.
Until next time, keep an eye out for editing issues and remember to show your local editor some love! And if you have a topic you'd like to see discussed, just drop us a line or leave a comment below.
Editor for The Phrase Doctor alongside her partner, Yvonne Glanville, Gabrielle earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in History, in addition to certification to teach both subjects in high school. After years of teaching college composition courses and history courses, she currently only teaches college students American and European history.
In addition, Gabrielle is an Amazon bestselling author of paranormal and historical erotic romance with her Sons of Navarus series and her Victorian Erotic Romance Trilogy. She's been writing for years, both in fiction and non-fiction, for pleasure and her day job, and began professionally editing over a decade ago.
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