How Are You Editing Long Sentences?

Opening of Peter Lombard's "Book of Sente...

Opening of Peter Lombard’s “Book of Sentences” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Edit a Book: Long Sentences and Comma Splices


Your beta readers have read your book; they like it, but they have one, minor criticism: your sentences are too long.

Though it is possible to create very long, but entirely sensible sentences, it’s usually easier on your readers if you keep your sentences short, and let punctuation help with phrasing.

Yes; of course you can break the rules; isn’t that what creative writing is all about? The problem is that most of the modern writing that your audience consumes has had any long sentence structures edited out.
So readers aren’t used to it, they trip over it, and they complain about it. And they might not read to the end of your book.

‘Problem’ long sentences come in two forms:

1. Long sentences with NO punctuation

Self-explanatory, really. Try reading your sentence aloud and see if you run out of air.

How to edit a book for sentences with NO punctuation

Add some! Just make sure you don’t use comma splices (below).

2. Long sentences that use comma splicing

Read more here.

3 comments on “How Are You Editing Long Sentences?

  1. Pingback: Pacing | Nina Kaytel

Comments are closed.