Should I Keep This Sentence - Literative

Should I Remove This Sentence?

Jennifer Mendez The Writing Process

Writing a novel is a difficult thing. Mulling sentence after sentence, wondering if the best of your ideas is making the page. Piecing elements together, developing the characters.

It’s no surprise writers want to edit as they go, but we all know that’s not the way, right? It only inflicts self-doubt, making the process that much more difficult.

So next time you ask yourself “should I keep this sentence?” go ahead and use this infographic after you’re done writing! It will make the editing easier and will give you something to look forward to while writing.

Grammar

Once you reach the editing phase, ensure the sentence is the best it can be before eliminating it. Sometimes, a little tweaking can go a long way. Just because it doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t mean that it can’t.

When the editing is over, you can really judge whether you need the sentence or not.

Elaboration

Now that the grammar is up to par, you can begin judging the sentence in question. Does it elaborate on the previous sentence? Think of it as a continuation, or extension, of the previous.

For instance, if you have a sentence such as “Barry ran as fast as he could,” you should continue with details in the next sentence? Where did he run, and how? Why did he run?

Connecting

When you’re done making sure that it’s elaborating on the former sentence, ensure that it’s connecting to the next. Just as sentences need to elaborate on the previous, the next sentences need to elaborate too.

For instance, “Harry Potter was a new student at Hogwarts,” is a simple sentence. Elaborate in the next with something like “he had two great friends, Hermonie and Ron.” That means the next sentence needs to connect to that, like a chain reaction. Something like “little did he know that he wouldn’t just be learning, he’d be battling evil.”

Flow

Chances are you’ve read paragraphs where things read a little choppy. It would go from point A, to B, then to E, without really setting up for that particular idea. When a sentence doesn’t belong, it’s best to either eliminate it or move it. Which, actually brings us to the next point below.

Adjustment

Sometimes, moving a sentence solves the “to eliminate or not to eliminate” debate. A well-written sentence shouldn’t go to waste if you can help it. Much like a good slice of cold pizza. If it doesn’t belong in a paragraph, it’s because it’s headed in a different direction, an idea related to, but not a part of the paragraph it started in.

Use it to make a new paragraph. Just make sure you place it where it needs to go, so the paragraphs flow.

Summary

Writing is a difficult art, mainly because editing is tedious. And you have to refrain from editing during the writing process, so you can avoid self-doubt. But something as simple as this infographic can help the editing become easier. And it can help give you something to look forward to during the writing process.

Hang in there! And perfect those sentences.

About the Author

Jennifer Mendez

Jennifer Mendez has brought insightful articles to Literative.com. From author interviews to how literature meets gaming to expert insight into tools and writing processes, her dedication to helping our author community is quite inspiring. You can find more of her writing at jennifermendez.com.