What I also like is to contrast a long sentence with a short one, to bring the reader up short. What do you think to this long sentence in a book I've just finished (and absolutely loved)?
Robert had worked on the conversion with his own hands all winter, doing almost everything himself except the plumbing and some necessary rewiring, and they now had a kitchen and a family living room and three bedrooms and a bathroom, and views of Langworth High Street in front and the decayed small industrial muddle at the back, and really, the change wasn't that bad and the sun came in morning and evening and it was, wasn't it, wonderful just to nip downstairs to work rather than race, late, through the town, and everybody would, of course, get accustomed to living in a quarter of the space they were used to, and it was a relief, surely, not to have the tyranny of a garden, particularly when Langworth had a perfectly good recreation ground, and it must be such a boon to have shops so close and everybody got used to sleeping through traffic after a week or two, didn't they?
Lizzie hated it.
(J Trollope, A Spanish Lover pp254-255 1993)
What about my writing? I don't think I've ever written a sentence as long as the one above, but I have had some very long run on sentences in dialogue because, that's how people tend to talk, interspersed with fragments of sentences.
I looked through some of my work and found this is pretty long sentence from Serendipity Develops – David and Christian's story following on from Christmas Serendipity:
After the longest, most painful hour of my life—during which I'd tried to hold back the tears and be as manly as possible, but after a short while, had given up and whimpered at the excruciating, shooting pain up my leg—the rescue services arrived, put me on a stretched, and gave me some proper full-strength pain relief.
When is a long sentence too long, when it gets to four lines, five lines, and does a semi colon mean it's still one sentence? What about short one word sentences? Strictly speaking that isn't a sentence, but they can work well for emphasis, to make the reader pause between words, as you do at the end of each sentence.
How do you feel about long and short sentences?
Garage mechanic David and office worker Christian met a few weeks ago, thrown together at Christmas through a mixture of luck and fate. They felt an instant spark for one another, but didn’t want to rush into bed until they were ready. Christian's emotions are all over the place, as he's still hurt from his parents rejecting him last Christmas.
Cathy works with Christian and she's worried about what he's telling their colleagues about his relationship with David; things can't be moving that fast, can they? Are they really planning on moving in together and adopting babies already?
She isn’t the only one worried. David begins to wonder if Christian is loving him too much, too soon. His friend Tony thinks they’re rushing things, and suggests dumping Christian, whose strange behaviour has David on edge. Is it too much for him to cope with? Or will they be able to work things out after all?
It is available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
Until next time,
Liam Livings xx