I once listened to a series of lectures on writing sentences and fell in love with long sentences. And this is against my impatient nature. I have to go back and edit out the simple sentences because if it was up to me I’d say, “See Jane run,” instead of “Seeing the man, a look of hate etched on his face that even the week long stubble couldn’t hide, Jane hiked her skirt and called on the skill she hadn’t used since running track in high school.” I speak in short sentences because I want to get it done, but writing is a different animal. You have to convey information in an interesting way.
I enjoy reading Pat Conroy, the way his sentences flow; to me it’s like watching Picasso paint. But not many are him. Not me, for certain. If you want to read the wonderful use of simple sentences and beautiful dialogue, read anything written by Elmore Leonard. He has great timing, and timing is everything! If you like more description, try Cormac McCarthy. The Knoxville native does it his way and it works.
The older writers—Faulkner, Hemmingway, Wolfe, Agee, etc---were descriptive, sometimes to a fault (read Agee). But a page telling me what she was wearing and why is a bit over the top.
And speaking of that, has there ever been two more disliked Presidential candidates in our history?
On my way to NYC, sitting in an airport, so have a good week.