U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Writing
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 05-07-2012, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,543 posts, read 28,136,052 times
Reputation: 6373

Advertisements

I think it was Hemmingway who won a short story contest with six words.

I was warned long ago about opening sentences more than twenty words. I frequently see sentences that approach fifty.

What is the general thought on this?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-08-2012, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
71,411 posts, read 67,461,829 times
Reputation: 89235
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
I think it was Hemmingway who won a short story contest with six words.

I was warned long ago about opening sentences more than twenty words. I frequently see sentences that approach fifty.

What is the general thought on this?
I'm for shorter.

And, by the way, the Hemingway story is:

"For sale: baby shoes. Never worn."
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-09-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Splitting time between Dayton, NJ and Needmore, PA
1,185 posts, read 3,799,806 times
Reputation: 763
I prefer concise opening sentences. However, I find the opportunity to stay with that preference is relative to the topic I'm writing on and the publication source.

For example, I finished a grant application a few days ago. The opening sentence had to define the grant seeker clearly and concisely and in one sentence as required by the grantmaker. The sentence read:

XYZ Group, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization founded
in 1952 with the purpose of preparing teen-aged
mothers to care for their newborn babies while providing
them marketable skills to successfully compete for stable
jobs in the Southeast region of the United States.

Presuming the org. receives the grant, I will also need to provide a press release for them to use. The first sentence is going to be bulky, but still functional.

Someone's Name Foundation has awarded a grant of
$250,000 to XYZ Group, Inc., a not-for-profit
organization located in Any Place, Any State, to
underwrite the ongoing work being done to help
teen-aged mothers to care for their newborn babies
while providing them marketable skills to successfully
compete for stable jobs in the Southeast region of the
United States.

Of course, the fore-going sentence is intended for use in a newspaper which provides the who, what, where, when, why, and how that is needed in a PR.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 80,561,759 times
Reputation: 36386
I don't see where it matters. There are a few thousand sentences still to come, and I'll judge the book by those.

Did you ever stop reading because you didn't like the first sentence, and not even go on to the second one?

But I'll bet that thousands of manuscripts have been rejected solely for the reason that the publisher didn't like the first sentence.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2012, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,543 posts, read 28,136,052 times
Reputation: 6373
Actually I did stop reading. It was from a elementary school librarian who did not punctuate. The 52 word sentence tried to explain the school library borrow/return policy. The mother who asked for help only had a 4th grade education.

I have a friend in NZ who was rejected last week for the first sentence.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I don't see where it matters. There are a few thousand sentences still to come, and I'll judge the book by those.

Did you ever stop reading because you didn't like the first sentence, and not even go on to the second one?

But I'll bet that thousands of manuscripts have been rejected solely for the reason that the publisher didn't like the first sentence.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Writing

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top