Calling on you to discuss the joys of writing and the importance of creativity in our personal and business lives.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sixty-six words in one sentence?

It was just too many words.

I was attending church yesterday. During one of the readings I stumbled over a big, chunky 66-word sentence. Counted them a second time. Yup, 66 words.

Now, this is not intended to be disrespectful to Saint Paul, the writer. And I imagine that long sentences in scripture are perfectly acceptable in church, where there's an eager, captive audience. But, don't try to duplicate this lofty word count on your own -- especially without divine intervention.

You see, short sentences are fun. They're active. They clip along.

On the other hand, long sentences such as this can drag on and on, lulling your readers into a semi-sleepy state -- allowing boredom to creep in almost unnoticed until too late.

Even worse? Stringing a bunch of long sentences together. This creates an unwanted rhythm -- a hypnotic effect much like the clickity-clack of a train going over a set of railroad tracks. Sleepy time isn't far behind.

A good writer will always vary his or her sentence length. Try starting a letter, for example, with a few powerful short sentences. Then slip in that longer sentence, if you must (but never 66 words). Then drop in a medium-length one. Mix 'em all up. Keep your audience a bit off guard. Don't let your readers get too comfortable as they're absorbing your masterpiece.

Next time you read an article -- printed or online -- notice how the better writers mix it up to keep you engaged. And entertained. And awake.

Copyright Joe Starin 2005
May be used with permission

Friday, November 25, 2005

Joe called

Hey, I've been a copywriter for a zillion years, but just got around to blogging. (For the record, a copywriter writes text for ads, brochures, Web sites, commercials, etc. Some also write feature articles, newsletters, and other forms of communication.)

But, all forms of writing are interesting. And certainly necessary. The better you write, the farther you'll get in this world. The more you'll learn, too. And the more you'll enjoy life. (Pretty bold promise, huh?)

So, this blog will celebrate writing. Of all kinds. I'll occasionally go off topic and applaud some of the best creative ideas around. Even take a look at some powerful advertising concepts (which usually involve sharp writing and creative thinking.)

I promise you won't be bored. And you won't find me using the word "I" 25 times in every paragraph. Most of this space will be spent looking outside of my world and into the bigger one that surrounds us. Together, we'll find great writing that's funny. And entertaining. And moving. And motivating.

Thanks for looking in.