Writing Practice: Single Sentence Daily

Writing a single sentence everyday is a great habit to oil yourself as the writing machine you may wish to become…

A single sentence can have character, plot, intrigue and emotion – and perfecting single sentences will improve your editing skills considerably, as you work to get just the right words for what you want to say.

Here are some examples of strong sentences:

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
(Oscar Wilde)

It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow (Toni Morrison)

“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”
(David Sedaris)

Make your single sentences a good habit by doing them at the same time everday, storing them all in one place and the reviewing them every few months to see which ones inspire, are there consistent themes emerging and do you have a favourite – if so why?

Step this up a notch by creating sentences which are stories.
Here are some fine ones:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

The Outing

An outburst of anger near the road, a refusal to speak on the path, a silence in the pine woods, a silence across the old railroad bridge, an attempt to be friendly in the water, a refusal to end the argument on the flat stones, a cry of anger on the steep bank of dirt, a weeping among the bushes
(Lydia Davis)

Kamikaze pilots wore helmets. (Owen Davies)

She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her of that day, she would exploit by incanting, “Frenchfilm, French film.(Amy Hempel)

The king died and then the queen died. ( E.M.Forster)

Remember stories can have character, journey and turnaround…. In a story something must happen.

And if you’ve a project you want to get cooking, then why not use visual images which suit that project to inspire your single sentences – you could create a mood board for your project and write single sentences for each image – or even just choose book covers that you like and admire and write your single sentences to them…

Once you’re flowing with this technique of course, you don’t need to confined yourself to a single sentence…just let the words keep running….

And the benefit of this little habit is that every night you can go to bed thinking ‘Hell, yes, hooray I wrote something today!’

This is a mindnote from Philippa Davies.