First you write a sentence
I’m only one and a half chapters into First You Write a Sentence by Joe Moran but I’m so excited to have discovered a whole new level of word-geekery that I’m crashing in early with this post.
Writing is a passion and an obsession for me, so to find a book that takes a deep dive into the craft of writing a single sentence is a joyful indulgence.
The author explains how early written words appeared in ancient Greece in the form of epigrams. These were literally carved in stone, a laborious process that would require every word to pull its weight.
How times change.
Now we spew out a tweet in twenty seconds with little thought to the lasting legacy of our words.
If we take time to give our sentences the consideration they deserve, they will repay us. A good sentence is a gentle stroll for the reader rather than a wheezy uphill hike.
When I write for clients I build in more time for editing and proofing than I do for writing the first draft. Sentences are rearranged, scrapped, rewritten and honed. It’s never good enough first time.
As Moran puts it, first you write a sentence, then:
“… you can begin to work that unwieldy substance, words, like an artisan. Your sentences have turned from brain food into something to be moulded with the tools to hand. A carver has a chisel and a lump of stone. A potter has a wheel and a lump of clay. A writer has a keyboard and a screen.”
I love this idea of crafting and polishing a sentence until the real meaning shines. An unruly tangle of words becomes a sparkling string of jewels; a beautiful, priceless gift that can be shared and enjoyed a million times over.