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View Full Version : How long a sentence can you write?



Saint Fool
12-14-2008, 03:17 AM
You can blame this on Jerry B. Flory (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124184)

It needs to make sense, have a flow, and give yourself extra points for semi-colons.

I got to 85:


It seemed, Lady Evelyn Prudehome thought to herself as she watched the gaily dressed members of society glide gracefully to the strains of Strauss's latest waltz underneath the glimmering chandeliers that brightly lit Lord Candler's ballroom, that her life was truly boring; thus, the only thing to do for it was to find some piece of nasty gossip to whisper into the ever eager ears of her acquaintances who would then spread it hither and thither throughout the society parlors and gaming houses of London.

Or think of it as practice for Bulwar-Lytton (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com). But don't tell Mscelina because she will come after me with her red pencil of death.

scarletpeaches
12-14-2008, 03:18 AM
Once upon a time I wrote a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really long sentence.

benbradley
12-14-2008, 03:46 AM
Once upon a time I wrote a really, ... long sentence.
I'm going to make up a rule, it's simple, but if you can't live with one suggestion, be positive, upbeat, absolutely good, not bad, misbehaving, negative, pouty-lipped yet true, just don't use duplicate words twice or more in the sentence so we all can enter this game with fun, enthusiasm, ingenuity, integrity, sophistication and grit.

Perks
12-14-2008, 03:48 AM
If you're looking for really long sentences, William found an article for AuthorScoop's Tuesday Morning Lit Links (http://authorscoop.com/2008/12/09/tuesday-morning-litlinks-34/) just this week about the longest literary sentence.

We're talking six digits.

scarletpeaches
12-14-2008, 03:48 AM
Get hitched.

Marriage isn't a word; it's a sentence.

caromora
12-14-2008, 03:50 AM
Mathias Enard has everyone beat. Look up Zone, his soon-to-be-pubbed in the US book. (Here's part of the description from Publishers Lunch: Mathias Enard's ZONE, A 500-page, single-sentence French novel...)

Edit: Perks beat me to it while I was looking up the PL quote. :)

benbradley
12-14-2008, 03:55 AM
If you're looking for really long sentences, William found an article for AuthorScoop's Tuesday Morning Lit Links (http://authorscoop.com/2008/12/09/tuesday-morning-litlinks-34/) just this week about the longest literary sentence.

We're talking six digits.
Yeah, but I bet he repeated words too.

Unless he has a really big vocabulary and used all the words he knows, which being literary, he may well have done.

RobJ
12-14-2008, 04:09 AM
The longest single sentence written in the English language in a work of fiction that actually makes sense in its pure original form without being unnecessarily convoluted for the sake of it and without any punctuation between the very first word and the final word is a one hundred and twenty three word sentence written by Yorkshireman Eric Bristlethorpe in eighteen sixty-seven in the opening chapter of his novel about the Battle of Bosworth in the War of the Roses in which he writes about a young infantryman dying from a wound to his neck over the course of a two day period during which even as he dies the soldier manages to write six letters to his fiancée proclaiming at length his undying love for her while never letting on that he has been mortally wounded.

smoothseas
12-14-2008, 05:09 AM
The longest single sentence written in the English language in a work of fiction that actually makes sense in its pure original form without being unnecessarily convoluted for the sake of it and without any punctuation between the very first word and the final word is a one hundred and twenty three word sentence written by Yorkshireman Eric Bristlethorpe in eighteen sixty-seven in the opening chapter of his novel about the Battle of Bosworth in the War of the Roses in which he writes about a young infantryman dying from a wound to his neck over the course of a two day period during which even as he dies the soldier manages to write six letters to his fiancée proclaiming at length his undying love for her while never letting on that he has been mortally wounded.

Can you read that aloud without taking a breath?

James M M Baldwin
12-16-2008, 08:57 AM
Mark Twain wrote the following article for a Boston paper.

Last evening about 6 o’clock as William Schuyler, an old and respected citizen of Hyde Park, was leaving his residence to go down town, as has been his custom for many years, with the exception of only one short interval in the spring of 1850, during which he was confined to his bed by injuries received in attempting to stop a runaway horse by thoughtlessly throwing up his hands and shouting, which, even if he had done so even a single moment sooner, would have inevitably have frightened the animal still more instead of checking its speed, although disastrous enough to himself as it was, the occurrence was rendered more melancholily distressing by reason of the presence of his wife’s mother, who was there and saw it, notwithstanding it is at least likely, though not necessarily so, that she should be reconnoitering in another direction when incidents occur, not being vivatious and on the lookout, as a general thing, but even trhe reverse, as her mother is said to have stated, who is no more, but who died in the full hope of the blessed resurrection, upward of three years ago, aged 86, being a Christian woman without guile, as it were, in property, in consequence of fire in 1849, which destroyed every solitary thing she had in the word. But such is life.

(From The Prism, a booklet of random writings, published by H.O.Sidenfaden, St. Joseph, MO, in 1921.)

Alvah
12-16-2008, 12:01 PM
While the pot of beef and vegetables was getting hot, while she was rushing across the freshly mopped floor, from spice rack to counter to table, because she couldn’t find the marjoram to add to the stew, although she wasn’t sure marjoram was the right spice to add, and she was wondering if she should use basil or thyme instead; while she balanced the red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in her left hand – not that she actually followed the recipe instructions, she just always felt better having a conventional mother-approved standard as a guide – while her terrier yapped and pranced on its hind legs, begging for a bit of meat, the telephone started ringing, and Dottie stopped her marjoram hunt to ask herself whether she should answer the phone, because the last time she had cooked for company, the Gannons had called at the last minute to cancel, and she didn’t want to let them do that again.