Your Best Story tip #2 — One sentence, one thought

A sentence should represent one complete thought. If you try to cram more than one idea into it, your sentence will refuse to bend to your will. With such obstinate candidates, here’s but one thing to do: get your axe, and break them up.

If your sentence comprises two or more independent clauses, here are a few things you can try:
1) Use a coordinate conjunction preceded by a comma (, and /, or /, but, etc.) to turn them into one compound sentence.
2) Use a period or semicolon to break them into two sentences; if the second clause explains the first, you can go for a colon.
3) Turn one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause, using a subordinating conjunction (because, while, through, etc.).

Consider the following nonsensical paragraph:

I’m writing this sentence in my pajamas, the sentence is long and it is not easy to read, there were many thoughts going on in my mind when I wrote it, that is what happens when I’m hungry.

A possible fix would be:

I’m writing this sentence in my pajamas. The sentence is long and not easy to read because I had a lot on my mind when I wrote it. That’s what happens when I’m hungry.

(Guilty as charged: I fixed a few other things as well. )

A sentence should represent one complete thought. If you try to cram more than one idea into it, your sentence will refuse to bend to your will. With such obstinate candidates, here’s but one thing to do: get your axe, and break them up. If your sentence comprises two or more independent clauses, here are…

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