Writing Long–But Not Long-Winded–Sentences
In our attention-span-challenged times, it takes a certain nerve to write long sentences, yet recent Booker longlisted books include Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, and Lucy Ellman's Ducks, Newburyport, all of which revel in them. How do we explain this? Sentence length can seem almost accidental, a byproduct of style or point of view. In this session, though, we’ll bring them to center stage and seek to cultivate sentences that are long but not annoying. Such sentences sustain the reader’s interest as though we are watching a tightrope-walking friend—every step’s essential, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and we are riveted (we might even gasp at the daring). By examining acrobatic writers ranging from Hamid to Elizabeth Tallent, Garth Greenwell to Arundhati Roy, Tommy Orange to Fernanda Melchor, we’ll see how they use them to bask in the nuances of consciousness, to control time, rhythm, and perspective, and to convey the complexity at once of the human experience and our times. And naturally, you’ll walk away from this class with several long sentences of your own.
This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!
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- In-Class Writing Prompts
- Class Discussion
- The Novel
- Short Fiction