Your job as a writer is making sentences

I am reading a book, long ago recommended to me by teacher/artist/writer friend Jan Donley and recently brought to my attention by daughter/college student/writer Grace Guterman, that focuses on the building block of prose: sentences.

IMG_6439-1 (1)

From Several short sentences about writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg (Vintage Books, 2012).

Why are we talking about sentences?
Why not talk about the work as a whole, about shape, form, genre, the book, the feature story, the profile, even the paragraph?

The answer is simple.
Your job as a writer is making sentences.
Most of your time will be spent making sentences in
your head.
Did no one ever tell you this?
That is the writer’s life.
Never imagine you’ve left behind the level of the sentence
behind.

Most of the sentences you make will need to be killed.
The rest will need to be fixed.
This will be true for a long time.

I endorse this book. It is mesmerizing and full of wisdom. If you write, and if you struggle with shaping your sentences, it will also validate your labor and thoughtfulness.

2 thoughts on “Your job as a writer is making sentences

  1. Once upon a time when I was feeling clever, I tried to argue that the paragraph was the building block of prose. Developing effective paragraphs is important, of course, but I was off the mark. I want to read this book.

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