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blog | June 12, 2015

Five for Friday: Resources for the Right Sentence

By David Hopkins

There’s no shortage of writing advice out there. It can be a little overwhelming. The key is finding what’s useful. If you need to craft the right sentence, I’m offering a book, an article, a human being, a magazine, and an infographic to guide you.

1. How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish — Such a simple concept and such a dense book on the subject. Over 176 pages, Fish expands on the idea of a well-written sentence. According to Fish, it’s as important for writers to genuinely like sentences as it is for great painters to like paint. I couldn’t agree more.

2. Hemingway’s writing advice — Hemingway said it’s bad luck to talk about writing. (I’m doomed.) However, you can’t go through the Internet without tripping over some trendy article sharing Hemingway’s advice on writing. Here’s a good one from Copyblogger.

3. Chuck Wendig — Oh, what would I do without Chuck in my life? His book The Kick-Ass Writer is amazingly practical in all aspects of professional writing. Wendig’s Twitter account is a treasure trove of wisdom and his blog is also amazing. Why would some guy give away all his best secrets? Because he’s fairly confident he can still out write and out work all the wannabes, and he’s right.

4. The Writer’s Chronicle — Published by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, this magazine is the only one I can confidently recommend. There are a lot of writing magazines that capitalize on the insecurities of aspiring writers. This magazine actually explores the craft in a meaningful way.

5. How to Write a Sentence (Infographic) — This infographic from Marcia Riefer Johnston provides a handy checklist to make sure your sentence is doing what it should and a few ideas for how to edit it.

Finally, make sure to read my post Clear Thinking for Great Copy: Crafting the Right Sentence. Between these resources and my own rambling, you should be able to piece together some wisdom to guide your writing, one sentence at a time.