Creating Variety in Sentence Structure

Monotony is a writer's enemy. One great way to provide variety for your reader is through some techniques that can change up sentence structure. 

1. End with a punch. Sometimes we have a great sentence, but we begin with what could be a powerful ending. Switch it around and see if you add a surprise that your reader will appreciate.

2. Use an occasional short sentence for emphasis. Too many short sentences, just like too many long sentences can turn your readers off, but using a short sentence every once in a while can draw your reader's attention.

3. Use parallels. Often we work to make sure that our word choices vary, but sometimes using parallel ideas can create a more powerful sentence. 

Other ideas:
1. Invert sentences. Consistently following the norm: subject, verb, then object structure can become boring for readers. Inverting doesn't always sound natural, so be sure to read it out loud, but when it works it creates exactly what may keep your reader interested.

2. Vary sentences. Long and short, simple and compound. Mix it up for your reader.

3. Watch what you begin with. Often habits form and sentences begin to sound repetitive. Also look at the beginnings of paragraphs for the same monotony. 

Mixing things up and spending time reworking your sentences is all part of the editing process that can make your work stand out. 

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook. 


Karen Cioffi said...

Jean, great tips on writing to keep the reader engaged.

Linda Wilson said...

Great tips--it's always good to be reminded of making our writing interesting. Thanks, Jean.

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