The neverending sentence

Art that is weird often breaks rules and does things differently from the norm! Creating weird poetry or weird fiction is all about breaking rules, taking risks and trying new things!

In this section, we’ll look at some great examples where writers have broken the rules and we’ll try breaking some ourselves! Let’s get started!

Writing rule 1: writing should be separated into sentences and paragraphs that are straightforward and to the point

While this might be generally true, this is a rule you don’t have to follow! Lot’s of great writers have broken this rule and had lots of fun doing so! 

Ducks, Newburyport is a novel by Lucy Ellman that is 1020 pages long, and is mainly composed of just eight sentences, some of which go on for more than 100 pages!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you read the whole thing! Let’s read this section from the opening of the book!

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman (extract).pdf

Whoa, that was a lot to take in, right? Take a moment to rest your brain, then answer the questions below.

  1. How does she keep this interesting? 
  2. Do you like the narrator or not? Why?
  3. In one sentence, tell me how the narrator feels.

Exercise #7:

Let’s try writing a sentence that goes for one whole page! I invite you to write about something that really interests you and you’re passionate about. You can continue one of your ideas from earlier or start something entirely new!

Stuck? Choose a subject you know lots about or are obsessed with. It might be that you love The Simpsons or football or Jane Austen - try and pick something you know lots about and can write a lot about. 

Want a tip? One of the ways that Lucy Ellman keeps the sentence going when it might stop is by using the phrase “the fact that” to start a new idea and move on to a new thought. If you’re stuck, start your sentence with this phrase and any time you run out of steam, write that down and start again from there!