Writing comes naturally to most writers, but it does take work. A writer does not just put words to a page. They craft them. They don’t put down the first time words that will win them awards. They rewrite multiple times. It is something you need to be doing.
It is nothing bad to need to reword sentences. It can actually be fun. Make it a game. See how you can give simple sentences new life.
So how do you reword sentences?
A sentence has different parts to it. There is the main subject and verb. Then there are clauses that enhance sentences. Let’s look at an example:
John walked to the car as he thought on what he had just heard.
The clause at the end can be moved about. What is we changed it to read…
As he thought on what he had just heard, John walked to the car.
We moved the clause from the end of the sentence to the beginning. It is not a complete rewording, but it does give it variety in structure when embedded in a paragraph with other sentences.
Expand or Cut
Take a sentence and make it grow. Sometimes all you have to add some descriptive phrases to make it better.
Joan picked up the phone.
Okay, we know the basics we need. The sentence tells what we need to know. But it could do so much more. A story with all sentences like this becomes boring to a reader. You want to jazz it up a bit. What about trying something like these:
Joan picked up the phone with a heavy heart.
PIcking up the phone, Joan took a deep breath.
Joan gave the irritating man a stern look as she picked up the phone.
The simple sentence has become something more. The reader gets a look into Joan’s emotions. The sentence has been expanded to give it more depth.
Now, should you cut a sentence up?
Sometimes sentences can be too long. They might need to be used to create multiple sentences.
Joan decided it was time to go to bed as she was very tired and had been up since an hour before dawn.
What if we tried a few things with it? What if…
Joan decided it was time to go to bed. She was very tired as she had been up since before dawn.
The sentence has become two sentences and isn’t as long winded. The new sentences still have depth to them and are easier to read.
Don’t hesitate to cut words entirely. In the example above, “an hour before” was cut out. Unless the hour is needed for part of the plot, it is not needed in the sentence. There is nothing wrong in cutting words.
Condense or be Verbose
As we have shown above, sometimes sentences can be too long or too short. Sometimes you can say the same thing in fewer words and make it even more powerful.
Joan climbed into bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
This sentences sums up the previous sentences. Details are left out, but are they really needed. That can be a matter of opinion. Playing with condensing sentences can be fun to see what you come up with and if it is more powerful than before.
You can do the opposite if you think a sentence might be too short. Add descriptive narrative as we did in earlier examples. Add words that give the sentence more depth but not for the sake of being verbose.
Try Different Words or Phrases
When you editing your work and rewording sentences, try different words or phrases that basically mean the same. Use a thesaurus if you need help. Sometimes we get in a rut when it comes to our writing. Expand your regular vocabulary and expand your writing.
Think poetically. What phrases might add color to your words. Instead of talking about sunlight in the room, describe the dancing rays of the sun or the warmth from its embrace. You give the same meaning but with colorful depth.
Playing with sentences can be fun. Challenge yourself and your writing. Discover what wonders await you.