As we do this podcast, the United States is full of protests and pain, Covid-19 is still happening, people are being hurt, people are dying. So, it’s a lot to take in and a lot to process and worry about so for this podcast we’re going to focus on a simple writing tip.
Story is made up of sentences. You want your sentences to be strong. Strong sentences stem from their beginnings. When the beginning sucks, the whole foundation can suck.
It sounds like a metaphor for a government, doesn’t it?
Anyways, in English, you want the strongest words on the left-hand side of the sentence.
Strength comes from the beginning of the sentences and the rest of the words branch out from there. So what are the strongest words you want to put on the left side?
Nouns and verbs. They are our friends, our battle weapons. Nouns and verbs ignite the fires of imagination.
Here’s an example of a sentence that’s pretty long, but strong because it begins with solid words:
Reporters collapsed after cops in riot gear shot rubber pellets directly at their cameraman and on-scene correspondent last night in Louisville, making them understand a little bit more the systemic violence and dehumanization that can happen when power is in the hands of few elements of society. White people weren’t used to that especially not reporters used to watching as others lose their rights, are crushed beneath knees and vehicle wheels and arrested without cause.Random nonpolitical sentence.
Sentences don’t always have to branch. Sentences pack powerful punches even when shortened if they begin with a subject-verb one-two punch.
When we put a lot of distance between the subject and verb, we can confuse the reader.
When we hide the subject underneath layers of clauses? We show the reader how unimportant the subject is to us. The subject of the sentence is important and should matter.
I feel like that’s a not too heavily cloaked way of saying people matter. Rage happens when injustices never stop. Rage happens when the punishments don’t fit the crime and when nobody hears your voice.
We hope your voice is heard. We hope you get to be the subject of a lot of sentences and not buried under purple prose and wordage. Make your sentences strong, but make other people’s sentences strong too.
Writing Tip of the Pod
Look at your writing. Where are your verbs? Where are your nouns/subjects? Are they in powerful places together? Put them there, damn it.
Dog Tip for Life
Remember the structures that make your life, your community, your family. Are your subjects next to the verbs? How can you make them stronger?
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
Join the 230,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.