Today I’m reading The Novel Sentence: Creative Writing Hints from the Prose, by Robert Goodspeed, a self-published guide to writing fiction.
At one point in the book, he comments on this remarkable sentence from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway:
Quiet descended on her, calm, content, as her needle, drawing the silk smoothly to its gentle pause, collected the green folds together and attached them, very lightly, to the belt.
Goodspeed remarks on the “expressive and musical” sentence’s rhythm, and represents the sentence a second time, broken into lines, as if in verse:
Quiet descended on her, calm, content,
As her needle, drawing the silk smoothly
To its gentle pause,
Collected the green folds together and
Attached them, very lightly, to the belt.
So, the challenge is to write a sentence structured like this one, but as if for a present day audience, in a style that will not feel anachronistic.
Here’s an attempt from me:
The evening came on, sullen, dense, as the rain, draining the pink and orange from the surrounding leaves, scattered gloomy spots on the back deck and dripped, very softly, from the eves.
I’m not sure this sentence works at all. The practice is the point.
Write something better and post it below!