Variety in Writing: composing refreshing reads

Why do we enjoy great classical works?  If they only contained great stories that we already know the classics might better serve as bookshelf bookends.  An often overlooked merit of the past great works of literature is the rich style of writing that lends itself to imitation, the sort of enlightening imitation that scintillates the minds of young and old readers and writers alike.  Besides using the excellent examples afforded by the great works of literature, resourceful writers can also sharpen their mental edge with periodic exercises in phrase and sentence constructions.  The following online resources provide not only references to sources of such compositional exercises, but outline the valuable theories behind such exercises:

Beyond Primer Prose: Two Ways to Imitate the Masters – National Writing Project

OWL at Purdue: Sentence Variety

JSTOR (abstract on article: Teaching Sentence Variety)

This last link mentions Frank O’Hare’s book SentenceCraft.  I looked this up on Amazon.  Some versions of this work (e.g. a 1985 edition) were being sold for the ridiculous price of over $200, but most others were under $5 (around $10 with shipping) in the U.S.  I don’t know the difference between these editions.


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