Recently, I've been experimenting with new ways to write sentences, and I came out with the following:

  1. I'll write very short and simple ones describing what's happening in the scene.

  2. After I'm done, I'll try to connect them and add/remove things from them.

(I think I took it from an answer from this site long time ago).


I walked past a small stream. I went up some stone steps. I finally reached where the red dot was. I realized it wasn't a red dot. I realized it wasn't floating. It was a knit cap. It was on someone's head. That someone was a girl. The girl was wearing a white sweater, gloves, and a plaid skirt.

I walked past a little stream and went up some stone steps, then kept going straight, until I finally reached where the red dot was. Except it wasn't a red dot. And it wasn't floating. It was a knit cap, and it was on some girl's head. The girl wore a white sweater, wool gloves, and a plaid skirt that reached just below the knee.

I've spotted two advantages so far:

  • I'm less likely to get stuck and wonder how to write the next sentence.

  • I'm "improving" sentences instead of "fixing." That means it would be OK if I leave a sentence without editing.

This is very different from my way of writing. Where I write everything that's in my mind without caring about grammar and whether things make sense or not.

Does this writing technique have a name? Is it commonly used? What are its biggest disadvantages?

  • 2
    It's outlining, but at a very low (i.e., detailed, i.e., paragraph) level. Isn't it?
    – dmm
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 22:02
  • 2
    Speaking of disadvantages: Structure of sentences sets mood and pacing of the sequence. Short sentences - rapid action. Run-on sequence of actions - routine. Long, florid sentences - slow pace, smoothness. Many pauses, ellipses - hesitation, awkwardness. One can paint the mood of given scene without saying a single word about it, just shaping the sentences right. In your technique you completely strip this layer off the early draft. You only add it later - and I couldn't: in creative writing building the mood is possibly more important than what is being said!
    – SF.
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


I am not sure if there is an official term for this method of practice.

This is a good approach if it works for you, but I wouldn't recommend it for anybody who wishes to create a substantial piece of work - such as a novel, for example - in a reasonable and realistic length of time.

This method may well possibly take twice, maybe even three times as long as you will have to keep going back and adapting everything that you have already written. Furthermore, if you can't think of anything else to add to each sentence as you scrutnise it, you will be no further along in your journey than when you first began as your intentions were to clearly add more meat to the bones of each sentence, as it were.

On the other hand, if you know precisely what your aim is and what you ultimately hope to achieve, and find that this way is actually more productive than unproductive for you, then by all means continue with it!

However, I am certain that others may also be able to use this particular technique and put it to good use as it can encourage them to be productive, rather than being sat there with lots of ideas but paralysed with the fear of putting down a short sentence that may be perceived as "incorrect", or worrying that it doesn't qualify, in some way.

  • I gave up on this idea. I realized writing a lot of garbage and editing later is better. You produce better work.
    – wyc
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 13:13
  • That's the way I prefer.
    – M.Y. David
    Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 14:01

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