I’ve spotted some sentences in my ms that are like beat-up old cars, clunking along. They have no rhythm, and they’re full of lukewarm action verbs. I think they were in there in the first place just so I could get my “stage blocking” down. Five people in a scene, all of them moving–I needed to make sure where everyone was. I picture them as decrepit old cars up on blocks on my lawn. Sometimes, I wish there was service to haul them away.
Thing is, they’re hard to spot, especially if I’ve been reading for a long time and if I know what’s coming. I’ve been skipping around in my ms, reading out of order, all trying to spot these things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So, what do you do to work on sentence structure, to rid your ms of these clunkers? Do you read your ms backward? Is your writing group your towing service? Can I stretch this metaphor anymore before it breaks?