Sunday, September 23, 2012

How To Create Memorable Sentences Using Temporal Distortion

1) You'll be dead before you hit the ground.

2) It was in the books while it was still in the sky. -- John Updike, writing about Ted Williams' final at-bat.

3) He knew she'd be his lover the moment he laid eyes on her.

Each of these sentences messes with the time continuum. Two things occur at the same time, even though they technically can't occur at the same time. The technique creates tension while foreshadowing events to come.

The effect adds a "huh?" factor to each sentence, and it makes the reader stop, think and remember. Try it. It's an excellent device for crafting unforgettable sentences.

This post owes a debt of gratitude to Stanley Fish's book How to Write a Sentence, which was my source for the Updike quote above.