Here's an exercise that demonstrates how flexible sentence structure can be. Write a story using 26 sentences. Start each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet, using A for the first sentence, B for the second sentence, C for the third sentence, et cetera. Even though it might feel a little challenging at first, you'll realize that you can still create a logical sequence of events, even with this strict rule in place. The language and sentence patterns you'll end up using will have much more variety.
Pop over and read Robyn’s clever Alphabet Mystery which inspired me to have a go too…
Adriana Yates was a practical woman so she kept her hair short and suffered the persistent curls that gave her a frayed at the edges look. Before she went to her rest each night she committed her chicks to the care of a higher power but she couldn’t help wondering what the Almighty was going to do about Henry. Clearly something needed doing. Drowning as he was in his own special soup of slights and rejections and not measuring up. Every evening he arrived home with a bottle in each hand and two or three already on board, working their mischief. Fear framed Adriana’s days and forced her down into the river of quiet that ran deep and slow, to lie at the bottom and wait.
Gratefully she cultivated this well of quiet, where bruises and brakes could mend, where planning and prayer could coexist, where the real Adriana would not be lost. Henry didn’t know about Adriana’s quiet because he never looked into her grey green eyes that were once as alive as any cat’s. If he had taken the time to look at her at all he might have had some warning.
June was drifting zephyr-like into July, making days shorter and evenings longer. Knowing the status quo wouldn’t be viable for very much longer didn’t make what she had to do any easier, but she must consider the children. Leaving was not an option, he would follow. Maybe he meant it that last time, maybe there wouldn’t be another time to suffer and curl like a caterpillar poked with a pointy stick.
No – she must accept the evidence of the mirror, her marriage had failed and she was not the cause. Only one way out then.
Prepare, plan, pray.
Quietness was getting harder to find, she knew it and she also knew she could not survive without its refuge. Resisting the temptation to say what she was planning out loud, Adriana was silent. Silence is a powerful weapon and Henry was momentarily disarmed.
‘Talk damnit woman,’ he said one night when he’d had enough, ‘or are you so stupid you can’t string a sentence together to tell me what I’m having for dinner?’
Usually she’d placate him with a drink, placed gently in his hand as she shepherded him to his chair. Very quietly she’d say, chops darling, but not tonight, she must know he hated having to do this.
‘Why don’t you ever listen?’ he said, raising a fist.
Xanthippe it was who greeted his assault that evening, she’d tucked Adriana safely away in the quiet. Yielding to the frypan applied directly to his face, Henry was brought down, the back of his head neatly collecting the edge of the table on its way the floor. Zombie-like she found the phone and tried to think of what number she should dial.