In Charles Euchner’s fine new book on writing, KEEP IT SHORT: A Practical Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, he talks about the #yo-yo, a device for moving between physical action to backstory then backstory to action and so on. #Yo-yo back and forth to keep it interesting and surprising for the reader.
“If you don’t give your reader variety, you will get stuck in long and overwhelming passages. So yo-yo from long to short, specific to general, physical to cerebral,” writes Euchner.
Think of a garden. “I hate a style, as I do a garden, that is wholly flat and regular,” said William Shenstone, an English poet and also one of the first landscape architects. “It slides along like an eel, and never rises to what one can call an inequality.”
To understand what he means, go to Central Park. You’ll see hills and fields, a lake, rock outcroppings and copses throughout the land. It varies from high to low, open to forest, dry to wet.
That’s what your writing should do. Sentences should vary in length between powerful subject and verb, one-two punches, and longer, more expository sentences. In short, keep it interesting. #Yo-yo it.
The best writing moves back and forth, from the density of exposition to the openness of narrative. We need the pack of information the exposition gives us. But we also need the journey that stories give us. As Frank Sinatra crooned about love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.
#yo-yo it. Your writing will soar.
To order, click on the title here: Keep it Short . You’ll find step by step #yo-yo instructions along with everything else you need to be an enthralling writer in this brave new world.
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