Universal Truths: Long Sentences

Early in my writing career, I had a really big problem. The problem is that I was excessively wordy. Don’t get me wrong here, I still struggle with it. Words are our tools. Improperly used, the words don’t build something beautiful. They build a mess that is hard to read.


Wordiness comes in several forms. The version I have been struggling with for years is sentence length. That comma was an appealing as a way to convey a thought exactly as it might appear in my head. Unfortunately, that meant run-on sentences. Any time a sentence spans more than perhaps 20 words, it is time to step back and really consider it carefully. Said with 21 words. I always did enjoy irony and did say that I still struggle with it. The maximum should probably be 25. It should never be common.

Seriously, looking back at some of my earliest writing is painful. I had one sentence that literally made the entire paragraph. A whole paragraph. Let that sink in for a minute. Interestingly enough, I have seen this happen in far too many self-published works. Don’t do that. There’s never a reason to do so. Take a minute to read through your work with an eye for sentence length. See how often you go past 15 words. How often do you hit 20? If you hit 25+, fix that immediately.

Don’t wait. Go on. I am interested to know who among you finds out they are wordier than they thought. Are you wordy? Let me know below if you have struggled with this issue as well.

What are your thoughts?

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