Don’t Put Them to Sleep – Revisited

When you’re writing, you need to mix things up.  You don’t want to be the one that puts your reader to sleep.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had teachers or sat through sermons that literally put us to sleep. How embarrassing! You can’t hide the little jerk of the head when you catch yourself and attempt to shake it off. You know what I’m talking about.

There are many different things you can do to add a little excitement and keep your reader’s attention, but one thing you have to avoid is monotony. Change those sentences up.  Use structure and length for change of pace to slow down or speed up your prose.


Suzie entered the boutique. She looked around for dresses. She walked over to the semi-formals. The store owner said hello. She picked the one she liked. She walked over to the counter. The owner rang her up. She handed her the money. She left with a smile.

Now there’s a lot of things wrong with this paragraph from the style perspective, but there are no grammatical or structural errors. I hope :-). It has strong verbs and nouns, which is a plus, but something isn’t quite right.

The paragraph I used as an example is a string of segregated sentences that can stand on their own. It’s also composed of sentences similar in length and cadence.

You need to vary the length. Change the beat every now and then. Seven to fourteen-word sentences are recommended, as they feel more natural. Nobody talks like that paragraph was written. Well, nobody except that boring teacher or preacher that put you to sleep 🙂

By the way, did you finish reading that short paragraph?

Something to think about 🙂

-Jan R

Don’t Put Them to Sleep – Revisited