Little diddy encountered in reading most anywhere: And tell me if I'm wrong, but when a sentence is started with the word "But," there should be no comma after it if no other comma is present in the sentence, as when setting it off with an adverbial phrase, etc.

Just cleaning the cobwebs today.

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Agreed, better writers - long sentences...   Additionally, there is no shortage of readers just looking to kill time.

"Agreed, better writers - long sentences... "

Don't tell Hemingway. He'll come back from the dead, tie on the gloves, and whip your ass.

Hemingway has some very long sentences.  The short sentence style is really an outgrowth of journalism. Narrow columns. And little space in general. Hemingway was a journalist.

I tend to write short sentences when i can. it's not because I think my readers are stupid.

In plot driven works, you got to move the story along!


Why do you then?

Shorter sentence create the tone and voice I'm looking for, and make the points I want to make better and more clearly. 

It definitely depends on tone and voice. Can't speak to the rest.


I vary my sentences but have from the start kept them mostly short. I've also worked on having shorter paragraphs, and lately on shorter chapters. But I have done so because I didn't think readers would bother to read otherwise. In my case it had nothing to do with voice or tone, and I generally need longer sentences for internalizing when I'm making a point.  :)

Dialogue tends to be fairly short also in my case.  I notice that British detectives speak at greater length. 

I've always thought the voice of the POV character should determine sentence length (though some variation in length is a must). The sentences in my latest novel, for example, are twice the length on average of any other work of mine.

Genre writers frequently avoid long sentences because their audiences are unable to cope with them and toss the book to reach for an easier reader.

Or maybe we avoid long sentences because we believe less is often more.

Because, to us, clean is preferable to cluttered.

Because the best stories are often the ones told the most economically. With the sparest prose. With the highest degree of clarity.

Modern architects frequently avoid gargoyles and ornate columns; I'm pretty sure it's not because they think their clients are pinheads.

I was in total agreement with your sentiments until the last sentence.  Modern architects...since Le Corbusier have any bothered to consult the inhabitants of the tower blocks or the social housing that they design or renovate?

The comparison doesn't work. Long sentences need not be ornamental, though they are usually complex. The complexity of the sentence is due to the complexity of ideas and not to the author's inability to get rid of verbiage.  Your view of "best" is opinion!  And less isn't always more, just as cliches don't always address the truth.

Modern architects (and artists) tend to please themselves.  They rarely consider current tastes.


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