In the meantime, I've been editing The Interloper. My own creative writing students have been working on short stories this term. One of them wrote an absolutely fearsome story about a slime man that will probably give me nightmares for the next month. At the moment, they're all working on short stories of their own choice. Watching their work on google docs and checking my own has reminded me that how a sentence works is not necessarily common knowledge.
I had the rare privilege of learning sentence structure during the time I was home schooled. Truth to be told, however, I probably would have read about it somewhere else if I hadn't in my grammar books, as I simply loved to read books about writing books as a child. I probably read more books about writing than actual story books between the ages of eleven and fourteen. I would get out quite a number of them from the library in Pukekohe. And so it came to be that I possessed this treasured knowledge:
A sentence equals
a subject + a verb + a complement
The subject is what the sentence is about. The verb shows them doing something or being something. The complement brings the sentence to the logical conclusion. There can be variations on this. You might get a sentence that is:
subject + subject +verb + complement
subject + subject + verb +verb + complement
subject + verb + verb + complement.
This doesn't even begin to cover how complex complements themselves can be. All this is to say that when one of my students writes "As twins John and Lisa." this does not qualify as a sentence. As twins John and Lisa... what? Also, phrases like "somewhere out there in space", "falling, falling through the sky", and "just like leaves die" do not qualify as sentences on multiple accounts and should not be fitted with a full stop until they have been adjusted. Unless you're already a pro, and you're using fragments for stylistic effect... Just like I did back there.
My main problem with sentences these days is how to make them flow better - and how to insert parallel structure into them. For instance, I tend to write:
Maud considered the options, which included being burnt alive, a military group attacking her, and death in a prison cell.
In this case, the military group should go. Or it should become:
Maud considered the options, which included being burnt alive, being attacked by the military, or dying in a prison cell.
In this case, the options all follow an "ending in ing" format, which is more pleasing to the eye and ear.
Anyway, in summary - sentence structure is complicated.
Besides pontificating about sentence structure, I've also been pontificating about double glazing. My husband and I have made the decision to double glaze the glass of our house. I do wish I were in Australia again. Christchurch is very cold already at this time of year. But the double glazing should help with warmth (it shan't help our wallets much!), although it shall render the place a lot more noisy for teaching and writing from home.
Well, that's all for now. Until next time!