Tip #5: Add Variety to Sentence Beginnings
Today we’re sharing another installment in our series Tips to Improve Writing (#5 – Add Variety to Sentence Beginnings).
Starting sentences the same way is boring.
“I went to the store. I saw a cute guy walking toward me in the freezer section. I reached for the same ice cream he did and our fingers collided. I think he’s my future husband.”Boring, repetitive example
Yes, a lot is going wrong in the above narrative (specifically a lot of boring action), but you can see how annoying it is to start each sentence the same way. By adding variety to how you begin, you open doors to add more descriptions and dialogue, and a heck of a lot more creativity.
Sentence Beginnings with Visual Cues
When I’m editing and stuck on how to start a sentence to avoid the same beginnings, I focus on adding visual cues. As an illustration, I usually ask myself: Can I describe the setting at the start of my sentence?” For example, I could say, “Chilly raindrops splattered against my face as I ran to the store,” instead of, “I ran to the store.”
Sentence Beginnings with Emotional Cues
Another great way to start sentences is to focus on the emotions of the character. More specifically, how can I convey how they are feeling without stating the emotion outright? You could even pose their mood in a question. For instance, an upset character could question why all of the stupid shopping carts don’t work. Maybe she only tries two, but her moody interpretation is that nothing is going her way.
To compare what we’ve learned, check out the following example:
A better example of Sentence Beginnings with Variety.
“Chilly raindrops splattered against my face as I ran to the store for my least favorite shopping trip. Tampons and pads. Seriously, why didn’t I sign up for that delivery service?
Neon lights from the store glowed overhead as I slid past the sliding doors, falling on my butt in front of the security camera. Fantastic. I stood and wiped at my wet behind before grabbing a cart. But of course, all of the ones I tried were stuck together like a family of metal, all chummy and cozy with no use for me.
Shoppers in groups of two or more filled the aisles with their shopping carts while I walked alone, trying to conceal my packages without looking like I was stealing them. I turned toward the cash register when the frozen foods section sign seemed to call to me. Like a cheetah after prey, I rushed toward the ice cream section full of chocolate and calorie-rich peanut butter. And as I slid my hand into the freezer, a hunk of a man sidled up, reaching for the same carton. Our fingers collided, practically melting the dessert. He took one look at my tampons and pads, shrugged, and turned his focus on me.
“Want to split it?” he asked.
He could be my future husband.Better sentence beginnings example
Cheesy? Indeed. But the sentence beginnings had variety. Now go and see what you can improve now that you’ve read Tips to Improve Writing (#5 – Add Variety to Sentence Beginnings). You can also visit past our Quick Tips for Writers below:
- Writing Tip #1: Punctuation Abuse
- Writing Tip #2: When to Use Adverbs
- Writing Tip #3: Use Dialogue Tags Appropriately
- Writing Tip #4: Avoid Repetitive Words
- Writing Tip #6: Don’t Start With Dialogue