Variety in your writing can hold a reader’s attention.
We already looked at how varying sentence length can be effective. This time, let’s look at how you start each sentence.
If you use the same structure for each sentence, and start each one in the same way, your reader could soon become bored.
The solution? Introduce variety!
Many sentences begin with the subject as a noun, pronoun or proper noun:
Sentences can start with the verb: ‘Tell me your name.’ or a gerund (the -ing form of a verb which makes a noun): ‘Ignoring me won’t make me disappear.’
More complex sentences have a phrase or a clause ahead of the main part of the sentence.
Varying the structure of your sentences, and being careful to start them in different ways can result in a good read.
However, using the same structure can also be effective. In ‘The Book of You’, some sections are written in the first person and, within these sections, many sentences necessarily start with ‘I …’ . This serves to emphasise the emotional situation of Clarissa. In an entry dated Monday 2 February, the author, Claire Kendal, has three consecutive sentences all starting ‘I am trying …’ . Clarissa is trying very hard, and struggling!
Look at writing you admire and focus on how sentences start. Is there variety?
Consider your own text and think about how you might edit it to introduce more variety, or less variety – to better effect.