But often our prose is not magical ... it's murderous.
We have so much we want to say that sometimes it just tumbles forth onto the page
in great chunks of blocky sentences becoming an avalanche of numbing paragraphs.
1.) Write like someone is listening ... not reading.
a.) You wouldn't go up to a person and say:
"Although the complexities of stintilating prose can be easily comprehended, they are often misunderstood by today's beginning writers."
b.) Why not?
1.) People would stop listening almost at once, their eyes glazing over.
2.) We would bewilder them with blunt instruments of prose.
3.) We would bore them ... and we never want to bore an agent or potential buyer of our prose!
SOLUTION: Write short, easily understood sentences with equally short words. As in a more digestible sentence : "Writing riveting prose is easily understood if taught correctly."
Read your work aloud, page by page. You will hear flaws you never thought you'd written.
Print out your work. Look at the page. Is it filled with two huge, impossibly long paragraphs? Break them up into easier to digest paragraphs and sentences.
Never play "Hide and Seek" with the subject of your sentence.
1.) Be upfront with your subject, not putting rows of rail cars in front of your locomotive.
2.) No corollary things about your subject first.
3.) Get to your subject as quickly as you can in your sentence.
NOT: Heavily burdened by accepting the huge debts of Fannie Mae, the U.S. Treasury is reaching critical financial mass.
BUT: The U.S. Treasury faces bankruptcy due to its accepting trillions of dollars of debt from Fannie Mae.
When you want to build tension or expectation:
"Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound --
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird; it's a plane.
No, it's Superman!"
The writer had a reason to withhold the subject. The subject is the punchline.
THAT is my short lesson in writing better. Now, go out and play in the snow.