Monday, January 31, 2011

Powered-up Sentences in Seven Steps with Lyn Cote

Hey, Seekers! I'm happy to be a guest here on Seekerville. Today I'm sharing one of my first articles on writing, one that has helped me in my writing and has helped many others. I hope after you read it, you'll post a sentence from your own writing and try to "power it up" with these tools. I'll read them and comment. Here we go!

Powered-up Sentences in Seven Steps

When I completed my first manuscript, I thought a national day of celebration should be proclaimed. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered contest judges, agents, and editors weren't impressed by my 700 neat pages. They expected not only that each chapter, page, and paragraph be effective, but they also demanded that exacting standard apply to each sentence and even each word. Didn't they know that perfectionism of this level put them at risk for early cardiac arrest?

When I had no luck changing their minds, I decided I would have to conform. Being a seasoned (or shell-shocked) English teacher, I went back to the basics of sentence structure. There are only four types of sentences in English. (Yes, that's all we have to work with.)

They are:

Simple: subject + verb

Compound: subject + verb + conjunction + subject + verb.

Complex: subordinate conjunction + subject + verb, (comma) subject + verb.

Compound-complex: a compound and a complex sentence joined by a conjunction.

These are the basic building blocks for every page you will ever write. So you ask, what's a dramatic about them? How could Margaret Mitchell, the Brontës, and Jane Austen do magic with these building blocks? Here's how.

Seven Power Rules

1. The simpler the better. The clear, simple sentence packs more power than a long string of clauses.

2. Keeping #1 in mind, a variety of sentence structures is preferred to repetition of just one. Even one paragraph of only simple sentences disturbs the reader.

3. In a paragraph of long sentences, a short sentence takes on prominence and vice versa.

4. Subordinate conjunction subordinate or weaken the clause they introduce. They make the clause dependent on another clause, one which can stand alone. Example: "when we come home late" cannot stand on its own be and understood. (Common subordinate conjunctions: if, because, after, before, since, when).

5. Humans always remember the last word they've read. Just as we build a plot to a climax, every sentence reaches a climax at its end. Save the best to be used as a last word.

6. Don't bury your most striking word or idea in the middle. Example: "Jake will explode when we come home late." Explode is the most evocative word in the sentence and it lies buried in the middle. Why not build up to that evocative word? "When we come home late, Jack will explode."

7. When you break rule #6, everyone notices! If you put the most important word first (instead of last), you give it special emphasis. Example: "Explode, that's what Jake will do when we come home late."

These seven rules are the touchstones of powerful sentences. And, once you can create powerful sentences, you'll be able to use those sentences to build evocative stories and articles -- and make sales.

Copyrighted- Lyn Cote -1998
(First printed in "Writer's Forum," a publication for students, faculty, and friends of Writer's Digest School, Fall 1998)

I hope you'll drop by my website and take a look at my Christian Book Publishers page and my How to be Published page. I'm also teaching a February class on the Conflict Grid and that's on the latter page. Final day to register is today!

BTW, I'm doing something different this year. I'm posting my very first (never published) novel, La Belle Christiane, on my blog. I'm posting a new scene every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When I completely post a chapter, I then post it in PDF on my website on the Archived Free Read Page. I've just started Chapter Five (of 25 chapters) last week. Hope you'll drop by and join in my heroine Christiane's adventurous life during the American Revolution!

Can the beautiful daughter of a French courtesan find a love that will last?

Bio: When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre.

Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog

Lyn also can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Drop by and "friend or follow" her. Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.

To purchase a copy, drop by


Lyn has graciously offered to give away a copy of her Love Inspired Historical release, Her Healing Ways. Simply comment and/or leave a sentence for Lyn to review in the comments. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


CarolM said...

Do I get to be first?!

I'll set out some pastries. And caffeine.

Compounds and subordinates and all that makes my eyes glaze over. Oy. I'm sure I learned it all at once.

I'll read this more carefully in the morning when I'm coherent. I should be in bed.

I *did* get the first post of the new Pentalk Community Blog up a bit ago. It's fried my brain...

I will be heading over to read the book in progress and would love a copy of the LIH!

OH! And I did order Mary's Lassoed in Texas as a gift this evening. And in the process, I came across a preorder for Deep Trouble. That led me to realize that I needed to read Cowboy Christmas first.

It'll be here Wednesday.

Unless we have 87" of snow like they're saying we might. [Okay - 20". Well, 2" of total precip in some combination of rain, ice, sleet, snow and any other form of water you can find. It's gonna be nasty.]

carol at carolmoncado dot com

Cathy Shouse said...


Thanks for the reminder on the basics. My 11 year old daughter is reading "Little Women" and I will sometimes sneak a peek, as I did this evening.

It has very basic sentence structure, which is part of what makes it timeless. It's just as captivating to me as when I read it as a girl.

I'd love a copy of the book.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Mmm, pastries sound like a good late night snack, CarolM ... ;-)

Wow, I never thought of rules 5-7 ... but I think that's true ...

I'll have to bug my mom to post on here ... she enjoys your books, Mrs. Cote. =) I'd love to be entered in the drawing. =)


Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for the informative post, Lyn. I learned the importance of varied sentence structures when I began entering contests. Many of the score sheets list this as one element the judges are to look for.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lyn, what wonderful words of wisdom! Thanks for being here today! You have a sweet, gracious flow to your books that readers just love. Great job.

Carol brought food. I love you.

And what a weather forecast, honey! Try to think of shoveling as free gym time, making it a win/win.

Grabbing a pastry. I do not care what kind. It's yummy. And available!

I also brought some flavored coffees along. Chocolate velvet and Cherry chocolate. Do you sense a theme???


Tina Radcliffe said...

Good morning, Lyn. Thanks so much for being a guest in Seekerville.

I have to say I see number six alot in contest judging. A sentence with important info and that info is buried and lost in the sentence.

Renee Ann said...

Fun post, Lyn. (I'm an English teacher so I love talking about sentences!) You have an interesting website--lots of good stuff on there. What a great idea to share your novel online! I'm sure lots of us will want to visit to enjoy your story. Blessings!

Patsy said...

I love Lyn's writings. Just got through reading one. Came to know of her by reading Love Inspired books. Also friends with her on goodreads. Would love to read this new book! It sounds great! (If Lyn wrote it I know it will be)!

Jane Wells said...

Direct. Informative. Concise. Facts-just-the-facts helpful. Thank you.

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, LYN, you're absolutely right -- simple IS more powerful, as neatly proven in this very simple but very powerful lesson on "powered-up sentences"!!

Thank you for coming to Seekerville today, we -- and I and my sentences -- are definitely better for it!!


Missy Tippens said...

Lyn, thanks for the great post! A great reminder we should all read each time we jump into writing.

Y'all be sure to check out the class Lyn is teaching! Lindi took it and raved about it. Also, I bought the book she's basing it on, and it's fantastic!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lyn, when you have a minute, tell us what you are up to and what you are working on.

L.A. Colvin said...

That is a fantastic and informative post. Thanks so much. Number 5 and 6 are going up on my wall of "MUST REMEMBER". ;)

Linnette R Mullin said...

LYN! this is such perfect timimg for me. i know Julie n maybe Carol knows but i did NOT get a rejection from my agent of choice. he wants me to fix some things then resubmit so your visit to Seekerville is perfection for me! please enter me in your drawing!!!! my sentence? docs office with sick teenager so get back with you on that soon.

mary bailey said...

Lyn, your post reminds me of my love for high school English class! In college I was going to be a high school English teacher but I switched to social work. Wish I could go and back and have a "do over" now! Thanks for reviewing those sentence structures for us!

I'd love to win a copy of your book. Thanks for the chance!


Cara Lynn James said...

I used to be the queen of long, convoluted sentences. I love compound sentences. But crit partners and editors have taught me that simpler is better. Thanks for the reminder!

Lyn Cote said...

Well, Tina, right now I'm actually formatting some OOP books for Kindle, Pubit and other ebook outlets. And I'm taking the opportunity to revise and polish the books that I wrote 10 years ago.
This is my Northern Intrigue series.

I'm not contracted right now but with this OOP ebooking and revising and posting my very first ms, La Belle Christiane, I'm very busy!

Lorna Faith said...

I have to admit that sentence structure is challenging for me I need extra help:( Thanks for the advice...I'm printing this off as we speak!

Wish I had your book to read today as it's -31c outside with a windchill of -40c! Ouch!
Please enter my name for a chance to win your new book! I've read 'Chloe' and love it!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Lyn, Welcome to Seekerville and what a great post. I am so laughing right now and you know why. LOL Now you truly know how out of it I am this week. LOL again.

I love what you shared. The English language is amazing. The fun thing about writing a novel is that it is like putting together a puzzle.

I'm with Renee Ann. Your website is great. I love the idea of a chapter at a time on there. Some publishers are starting to do that. Let us know how it works for you.

Thanks again for joining us. I'm still chuckling.

Renee said...

Lyn, I loved, loved Her Healing Ways. Obviously, I've read it so there is no need to enter me for the drawing.

My biggest challenge as a writer is my English. I didn't fail, but I'm sure I came close. ;)

Mary Connealy said...

Something I fall into and have to constantly fix is building sentences, one after the other, with the same rhythm.

I'll look back and realize I started five sentences in a row with the word HE.
Or five paragraphs in a row with the word SHE, or a proper name. Mixing it up is a way to keep it interesting.

Mary Connealy said...

Wow Carol. I hadn't realized you live above the ARCTIC CIRCLE.

Of course what am I talking about? I drove to work today on ICE. And they're predicting six inches of snow over it today, and then tomorrow the weather is going to get REALLY BAD.

C'mon spring!!!

Jackie S. said...

Very interesting! Please enter me in the drawing! thanks!!!

Lyn Cote said...

Lorna, thanks for the compliment on Chloe, one of my faves too!

Casey said...

This was so very helpful! I noticed something about my last WIP that my sentences tended toward choppy- where I thought I was making it "punchy".

Ah no. :)

Not when a judge thinks it sounds like "stylistic poetry" and I don't even read poetry. So in my third WIP, I'm paying more attention and this was certainly helpful, thanks!

BTW, your cover is lovely!!

Tina Radcliffe said...


What do you think are the best ways to increase tension in a scene using sentence structure?

And your thoughts on one sentence paragraphs to show emphasis?

Anonymous said...

Lyn, your comments about sentence structure have given me much to think about. I would like to be published, but hesitate in my writing, due to not remembering the exact rules that you spoke about. I am wondering if you would advise taking a writing class at a local community college, or is it better to be in a local writing group? Which would better achieve both a better understanding of sentence structure in writing, and allow for a good critique of your writing as well? I laugh to myself as I write this because I fear even this small comment has been written incorrectly! However I need your advice, and of course I would love a chance to win and read Her Healing Ways. Not only would it be a great example of your great tips in action, but the story really intrigues me!

Oh, and if I am blessed enough to win, you can contact me on Goodreads. I hope you don't mind, but I am just a bit old fashioned. I don't like giving out my information out here in the big old world wide web. I didn't want to miss out on this great opportunity though!

Heidi from the LIH Group on Goodreads

Joanne Sher said...

Lyn - this is a fabulously informative and succinct post. LOVE it! Adore coming here and having something very practical I can use (which is common here, of course). Thanks!

Lyn Cote said...

Tina wrote:
What do you think are the best ways to increase tension in a scene using sentence structure?

And your thoughts on one sentence paragraphs to show emphasis?"

I think that another good source for writing advise is Margie Lawson's EDITS class. She teaches several rhetorical devises, such as polysydeton. I think I spelled that right. Anyway I'd recommend everyone take her class.

And short sentences and one sentence paragraphs need to be used very sparingly. As in #7 whenever you break away from the expected, it gains notice unless you do it over and over....

Always use short sentences in action scenes.

I often even use sentence fragments which drives copyeditors nuts! But then many CE should be driven nuts since they often drive ME NUTS!

Andrea Strong said...

This is a great post. I love sentences. I never actually taught school, but I did complete three years of teacher education before I realized it wasn't for me. I had a professor who called himself a "Grammar Pharisee." That's me too. I love sentences!! All kinds.

I'm super busy today with birthday clean up, putting together birthday toys, and prep for the wicked snow storm that Carol has already mentioned. But...I'm gonna try to find a sentence from my WIP for Lyn to shred for me. :) It just might be a while.

I'd love to win the book.

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Lyn Cote said...

I would suggest that you NOT go to the local community college. They usually only teach literary prose which will only cause you confusion and rejection.
Just start writing. Even keeping a journal will give you practice.
A local writing group is only as good as the members. Steer clear of people who take themselves seriously. GRIN

CarolM said...

Yeah we won't mention what Andrea did to the same MS file I sent to the editor who requested the full...


Mary - I didn't know I lived above the Arctic Circle either. I think I may need to move again...

But not until after Cowboy Christmas gets here.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lyn said:

Steer clear of people who take themselves seriously.

You said it, sister!!!

Laughing in agreement in upstate.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Hi Lyn! Great post! Thanks!

Here is my sentence:
"The mansion stood in the heart of the countryside, somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh; completely and utterly isolated."

Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

CarolM said...

Oh! Check out what I found at Walmart today! Scroll to the end of today's post...

Walmart Seeker Sighting

Lyn Cote said...

"The mansion stood in the heart of the countryside, somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh; completely and utterly isolated."

Actually that's pretty good since the most important part "completely and utterly isolated" sit at the end.

My version: In the heart of the countryside somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the mansion stood completely, utterly isolated.

I wanted more prominence for "in the heart of the countryside" so moved it to start and took out conjunction in final phrase. What do you think?

Anybody have an opinion?

Tina Radcliffe said...

I like Lyn's because it really changes up the usual..and puts the reader in the countryside immediately.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lyn, care to join the 'she smiled" discussion?

What's your opinion on the invisibility of 'she smiled' as opposed to the 'showing' of a character's smile?

I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Okay, Carol! I am officially jealous! I drove within an hour of Julie's house over the Christmas break and TOTALLY missed getting to see her. BUT, we promised next time! Right, Julie?

Ok. My sentence. Hmm...

At this moment, nothing sounds so sweet as the soft, warm comfort of my bed.

Does that work, or do is my brain too fuzzy to get it? LOL

lr dot mullin at gmail dot com

Lyn Cote said...

I think that sometimes She smiled is best.
And other times, describing the smile is best.
It depends on the emphasis of the scene. Always focus on the most important element and you can't go wrong! IHMO!

Anonymous said...

would love to read your novel lyn...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Debby Giusti said...


I printed your blog and am saving it for future review. Very nice. Very brief. Very well stated! :)

Love your mention of saving the most important fact until the end of the sentence, which works well with suspense. The word "dead" or "killed" or "blood" stays with the reader and packs a more powerful punch when it's at the end.

Thanks for all the great info you feature on your Web site. Whenever I want details about a Christian publisher, I visit

Lyn Cote said...

Again thanks for everyone's kind words. I hope some of you will visit my homepage and sample my ms La Belle Christiane.
And I will be sending invitations to join my egroup LynCote_to_Readers. I hope you'll click join!

Mary Connealy said...

You first book has never gotten published. I oughta do this.

Keep my quiet little blog rolling for a YEAR.


Except my first reaction to this is START EDITING THAT PUPPY. so, lots of work and if I did it well enough, maybe I could get it published.

Lyn! You're making a LOT of work for me, girl.

Vince said...

Hi Lyn:

I’m an old CE.

As a CE I had one rule for writers: use any sentence structure you want and any punctuation you like – just make sure the reader does not notice it!

Any sentence structure that calls attention to itself is bad. Clear communication is the key.

I really enjoyed “Shelter of Hope” and was surprised that you used the real name of “Habitat for Humanity”. Did you need permission to do that?

I think your very warm style of writing and ethnic sensitivity would work very well for an Amish story. Have you considered writing an Amish romance?

My sentence is one I use in my Communication class. This sentence changes meaning every time the speaker emphasizes a different word in the sentence.

Word order will only take you so far.

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(Someone else must have said it.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(This is the normal meaning in print form.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(I might have implied it but I didn’t say it.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(I said someone else wrote it.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(I said she read it.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(I wasn’t talking about ‘the’ manuscript in question.)

I didn’t say she wrote the manuscript.
(I said she wrote the screenplay not the manuscript. )

(That’s seven different meanings from the same exact sentence.)

CE again: Please put the subject at the start of the sentence. Let people know what it is you are talking about. Don’t make readers go back to the start of the sentence to put the words into context.

I much prefer:

"The mansion stood in the heart of the countryside, somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh; completely and utterly isolated."

How about these three sentences:

The Pope pays the devil’s advocate.

The Pope, the devil’s advocate, pays.

The devil’s advocate, by the pope, is paid.

Sometimes it’s better to just make straightforward sense. : )


For Ruth

If you do not take yourself seriously,
seriously you will not be taken.

Take time for joy
Take time to laugh
Take time to smell the roses

For the time will come
when deep below
the roses come
to say hello.

Lyn Cote said...

Vince, not all CE's make me crazy--just the ones who think they KNOW everything and don't. GRIN

Thanks for the compliment on Shelter of Hope I like to write stories with many different kinds of people and yes, I've thought of writing an Amish story.

Right now I'm waiting to heard back on two proposals with my agent. Now you know why I'm keeping busy.

Great sentences, Vince!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Vince. Love you, Dude. I can use some rose analogies today, my friend.


I love the thought of roses sleeping beneath the snow. Waiting. Whispering. Maybe stretching, just a little.

Getting ready.

Lyn, you've got a lovely sensibility about all of this. So nice.

Vince, I like your version. It feels stark.

Andrea Strong said...

Hey! I didn't do anything bad to Carol's MS. /whispers/She loves run on sentences. Shh! you didn't hear that from me.

Lyn~ I found a sentence. This is the final sentence in the death scene that made me cry. It's also the final sentence of the Prologue (or Chapter 1, whichever I decide) and it doesn't pack the punch it should. Help it! Please!

"The three kept watch over Stephen until, just as the first grey of dawn touched the sky, his labored breathing stopped, and he passed away."

CarolM said...


Blizzard warning. Seriously?

So how to turn this into a sentence [since so far a lot of my stuff happens in my area - so it seems likely that this'll at least be mentioned in a book at some point...]

It was no ordinary snowfall. No, this was a true blizzard.

rather than

This was a blizzard, not just ordinary snow.

/hiding under bed/

Thundersnow and everything... I've lived here almost 18 years and I've never seen thundersnow [as far as I know - only one instances of more than a foot of snow...]

/cowering in a corner under the bed/

So if I disppear for the next few days with no power or internet, pretend I was here and enter me in contests, would ya? Make believe I said something witty, put a hit out on Mary, or squeed like a schoolgirl over something or other. /dumps a truckload of pastries in the corner in case.../

And Julie, Andrea, Helen, and the others I'm blanking on who are in this area[ish] or anywhere else that this monster is supposed to hit - be careful.

Captcha: proms - yeah won't be going to one of those anytime soon...

Mary Connealy said...

Andrea, I like your sentence.

I can play with it but not sure I can improve it.

Your version..."The three kept watch over Stephen until, just as the first grey of dawn touched the sky, his labored breathing stopped, and he passed away."

As the first grey light of dawn touched the sky, the death rattle of Stephen's breathing fell silent.
Three of us had kept vigil.
Now it was over.
Now we were set free of our stillwatch.
Now came the pain and the revenge.

I played with this a little Andrea.

I can make it sad. I can make it angry. I can make it a terrible loss. Those three...we need to be in someone's pov and "the three kept vigil" doesn't anchor it in one person's pov.
That weakens it because we need to know how ONE heart is being broken. We can't feel grief or anger or guilt collectively...does that make sense? So you grant the scene more power in one clearly stated pov.

But, keep this in mind, I added the vengeance, just cuz that's the kinda girl I am. I don't know what you want to evoke. Are these children watching their beloved father die? Heirs, licking their lips as they count the money that will be there's when the last breath is drawn? Brothers who only keep watch out of respect when their hearts are set on finding a killer and making him pay.
I'm sure you make all that clear, so your sentence may be fine without any changes. It made me feel the moment.

Mary Connealy said...

Speaking of blizzards. I need to go catch some water. All mornign my world is coated in ice.
Now comes the wind and snow.

This is a recipe for power outage and we handle it pretty well, except for water. That goes with the electricity.

Lyn Cote said...

Andrea wrote:The three kept watch over Stephen until, just as the first grey of dawn touched the sky, his labored breathing stopped, and he passed away.

I think it's an excess of words. How about this?

All night the three kept watch over Stephen. Just as the first gray of dawn crept up the sky, his labored breathing slowed, shallowed...stopped.

How's that?

Cindy said...

Ok, I went looking for a sentence to post and can see that I have so much work to do. Thank you for giving me more to think about.

I'd love to be included in the drawing.


CatMom said...

Great post, Lyn! Thanks for sharing your wisdom today. ~ I've also enjoyed visiting your site and reading info. about different Christian publishers. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post that information!
Blessings, Patti Jo

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Lyn, thanks for giving me a different way to look at the sentence. It showed how rearranging does change the emphasis.

Write, rewrite, write, rewrite... :)

Have a nice night!

Jan Drexler said...

Lyn, thank you for a post that makes me feel at home! After teaching my children Latin and Rhetoric I feel quite comfortable talking sentence structure, compounds, subordinates...when will we get to start discussing verb tenses?

I love it when writers vary the sentence structures to emphasize different things - and when it's done well the reader doesn't even notice it. It's a goal I'm working toward in my own writing.

Please don't enter me in the drawing - I already have the book.

And yes, blizzard warnings here, too. I'm making a big batch of bread to celebrate!

Lyn Cote said...

Well, I'm about to call it a night. I live in far northern WI and we're missing the BIG STORM. The irony is that we call snow "white gold" here because it's a tourist area. So of course we're missing the storm!

I've enjoyed being here and all the lively comments and chatting.

Take care and God bless.

Dianna Shuford said...

Great suggestions, Lyn. It always helps to lay out the guidelines. I've been trying to go over my scenes sentence by sentence after writing the draft. It has worked to make my writing better.

The current WIP I'm working on has the beginning sentence:

Walking among demons make life hell.

BTW- fellow shell-shocked English teacher here. It is amazing how underprepared I was when I started putting my work out there.

I would love to read your book.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Thanks,Lyn!!! It was a pleasure. I am happy to be inside after an hour long drive from work. It usually takes 20 minutes. Sheesh.

Stay safe, people and keep writing.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Love the book cover, Lyn.

Great post. This one's a keeper. :D

Anita Mae.

anitamaedraper (at) hotmail (dot) com

Susan Anne Mason said...


Thanks for sharing your tips with us!

I have to say I checked out your website and got totally hooked on Christiane's story! Wow. Now I'll have to keep reading on!

Nice to put a face to a name I've seen many times in the Harlequin line up.

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Vince said...


It just occurred to me that unless one knows the history of the devil’s advocate, my comments about the Pope paying this gentleman might seem irreverent and make even less sense than I usually make.

The original devil’s advocate was appointed by the Vatican to investigate and try to prove that a person nominated for sainthood was unworthy. The Church did not want it to come out later that a Saint was really a bad apple.

I was trying for irony but I am still rather heavily medicated.


Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Vince! Glad you clarified that. ;)

I'm sorry you've been sick. I didn't read all the comments over the weekend so missed something. Hope you're better!

Missy Tippens said...

Cathy, I remember reading years ago that the best fiction is written on something like a 4th grade level. In Word, you used to be able to pull up what level your writing was (I guess based on sentence structure, number of words, number of sentences, etc.). I don't see that feature anymore.

Pam Hillman said...

Seven steps to be studied over and over! Thanks Lyn!

I especially noticed the one where you end the sentence with a BANG....I think you used the word explode.

Margie Lawson calls those power words, I think.

Thanks for the reinforcing that rule. In my head, it shall be imbedded!

Walt Mussell said...

Six is one of my problems. I've seen that in some of the classes of Margie Lawson about ending with a power word.

I am always up for a LIH. (Or should that be LIH? ALWAYS! :-)


Tina Radcliffe said...

Good one, WALT!

Or possibly, WALT, GOOD ONE!!

Cindy W. said...

Okay, so I think it's time I go back and study the basics.

When I start studying, my brain should explode with revelation!

Would love to be entered to win a copy of your book Lyn. Thank you for the chance and the wonderful reminder in your post today.

Cindy W.


T. Wilhelm said...

First of all, Thank you!
Second, I have been stuggling with a sentence almost like Eva's, and Now I see just what was wrong!
I'll be brave, and give you another that I know is mess, but I can't seem to fix. I'll also give the sentence before for context. I hope you don't mind my genre is historical fantasy (romance or not Seekerville is such a valuable resource!) Here it is:

The seat at the head of the table was empty. Zandar could no more sit in his father’s chair than hold still as he considered the news and opinions brought forth by the Council.

Virginia said...

I usually read all the comments before posting but it's chaos here today so I'll just say - LOVE this post! And 30 books since 1997? Wow, that's about 3 a year! Eeek. I love that this site has so many different guest bloggers. I feel like at an all-year convention. Seekerville rocks!

Martha Ramirez said...

Thanks so much for this post! It reminds me of what Margie Lawson teaches. Great post!
I try to remember to leave the most important word for last, but I tend to forget:)

MaryC said...

Missy, I remembered seeing the grade level recently so I went looking. You have to have your Word preferences (under Spelling and Grammar) set to show readability.

If you check off that box, then when you use Tools for Spelling/Grammar check, it gives the reading level.

Lyn, thanks so much for sharing your expertise and experience. I love your examples. I'm one of those learners who learns best by seeing examples.