How Not To Be Boring
by Valerie Ipson
The basic premise of this week's lesson is that readers crave variety. If an entire novel was just one long string of subject-verb-complement-period sentences, it would be soooo monotonous. Truth be told, the reader wouldn't even make it past the first chapter, maybe not even the first page.
Stephen Wilbers advises choosing a paragraph from your manuscript at random and counting the commas. "If you're writing without commas--or without dashes, colons, and semicolons--you're probably writing without variety" MTC, p 162. He calls these extra add-ins "trailing elements." Find his exercises on p. 164-165 of Mastering the Craft.
I've found that for me the best tool is reading my work out loud. It's then that I see how the rhythm of varying sentence structure is working...or not.
So, basically, don't be boring! Change things up. Keep the reader engaged through variety.