Winter Writing Assignment 4
“The well-made sentence transcends time and genre. A beautiful sentence is a beautiful sentence, regardless of when it was written, or whether it appears in a play or a magazine article. … To talk to another writer about sentences feels like forging a connection based on the most intimate and arcane sort of shop-talk, much the way mathematicians might bond on the basis of a shared admiration for some obscure, elegant theorem. Every so often I’ll hear writers say that there are other writers they would read if for no other reason than to marvel at the skill with which they can put together the sort of sentences that move us to read closely, to disassemble and reassemble them, much the way a mechanic might learn about an engine by taking it apart.”
— Francine Prose
Write a list of 50 sentences that do not connect to one another. The sentence can be any kind of a sentence — a description, interior thoughts, a line of dialogue, or anything at all — but it must stand alone. When you write a period at the end of it, you start fresh with a new sentence. Be vigilant, and do not let the sentences lean on each other. This exercise is similar to the first one in this series — the list of words that start with the letter B. You start from scratch each time you begin a new line. Doodle on your page as you wait for the start of a new sentence to come. Experiment with the size and shape of your sentences: where do the verbs go? What can you do with punctuation? How can you create a mystery in one sentence? Continue this way, laying sentence under sentence, until you have written 50 of them.