Mar 12, 2015

How to Avoid Writing Like a Vampire

by Raina

in Writing Tips

I want to suck your blood. Blurgh. It’s just such a boring phrase.

With vampires, it’s all “I this,” and “I that.” Perhaps it’s because they’re so focused on one thing. Regardless, when every sentence begins with the same subject, the writing can get a little tedious and uninteresting. Vampire-speak often works for children’s literature because kids need that rhythm and simplicity.

But you, fellow adult or young adult (and presumed non-vampire), need a variation strategy. Employing such a strategy provides an easier and more satisfying read.

Unfortunately, many people tend to write as they think, a tactic that can produce sentences like:

  • I’m hungry.
  • I want to sleep.
  • I can’t believe how much that cat weighs.

Not to worry; we all write this way occasionally. In fact, if you look throughout this site, I’m sure you’ll see instances of this exact problem. But, the difference is that … erm … HEY, look at that dog over there!

Fortunately, you can curb your vampirish nature and change up your sentences. Try some of this stuff.

Do This Stuff.

While training yourself to avoid this while writing can be difficult, you can always fix these issues during editing with these steps:

  1. Take a quick inventory of your sentence openings.
  2. Note back-to-back sentences that begin with the same word.
  3. Change one of the sentence openings with help: Uuse transition words, such as However, Regardless, While, Though, etc., or, try to flip the sentence around. For example: I had fun, but I had too much to eat at the park. Possible revision: The park was fun, but I had too much to eat. Ridiculous but possible revision: Food was my close friend at the park, and we had fun, but I was happy when we parted ways.

Also consider changing around your sentence structure itself. The format “subject verb object” can get old quickly. And short sentences are in. Really. See what I just did there? This kind of writing is more reflective of how we speak and may be more easily digested by the eye/brain.

By repeatedly editing in this manner, you may alter your writing style to incorporate different sentence openings. Then, and only then, can we be sure that you are NOT a vampire.

For more on the subject of sentence variation, check out the always fantastic Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s Strategies for Variation.


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