The Case for ‘Run-On’s :: BLONDE ROAST. *ominous tones*

Photo Credit: Unknown Artist

It has been speculated that a major part of the appeal for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was due to its use of short, clipped sentences. (See Jeff Goins “Why The Hunger Games is the Future of Writing. >>
To summarize, novels of the future are likely to be written in small sentences, packed with information and suspense, because the Internet/TV/connected world we live in has changed the way we think. (And subsequently, the way we read.)

Though I do think that such speculations are accurate (in their having necessary evidence), I do not submit to a future of Internet-style reading. In the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay, “I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.” A long sentence has as much potential for art as a short one, or even more, if carefully crafted. The problem is, they aren’t what people are programmed to enjoy. So I have a suggestion: Get a coffee.

Starbucks, from its beginning, was known for its dark coffees. Their policy was as good as this: You don’t like darker coffee? You are used to lighter? Bummer, dude. We do darker, because it is better, and you’ll have to get used to that. It was a controversial move towards a society used to getting what they want, when they wanted it. And it worked for a while. Starbucks acclaim grew loud, and the smirking green mermaid was popping up all over the US. But there were still several who complained. What if I don’t want better coffee? And of course, the answer was, “Go to McDonald’s.”

At which point Starbucks realized that they were actually going to McDonald’s. Like Prince Humperdink’s cry of “You’re bluffing!” in The Princess Bride, so had Starbucks’ indifferent attitude been perceived. And retaliation (Fine, then! We’ll drink gas station coffee, if that’s what it takes!) was made swiftly. In time, Starbucks caved. “Okay, ALRIGHT ALREADY! Come buy our Blonde Roast!” they cried. They were beyond taste, now. Changing America’s poor taste was not the issue at hand. It was business.

The run on sentence, I hope, will be fought for with fervor, and not with resolution that dies out with the sight of some extra greenery, but one upheld eternally, by young, old, and Tolkien-loving alike. Long live the run-on, I say, and let its artful lengthiness ever grace the pages of modern literature. (Huzzah!) Until the next…

Do you tend towards run-ons, or are you. One. of. those. who. tends to. be more. Clipped?


14 thoughts on “The Case for ‘Run-On’s :: BLONDE ROAST. *ominous tones*

  1. Clipped.

    That’s actually not true by nature for me, but by decision. When I write I often end up with sentences that are three lines long. Then I’ll go back through and chop ’em into bite-sized pieces. Interesting post, lad. :-)

  2. I know that technically the rule book says for maximized word flow an reader interest, the run-on and the clipped sentence should co-exist on the page with harmony when you are writing, yet my personal tendency (and preference) leans more towards the longer, run-on sentences, both in paper writing and in literary writing.

  3. Very witty — but did you notice that the vast majority of your own sentences are the clipped type? I’m an editor. If one of my clients uses a lot of run on sentences, I generally chop them up. Because frankly, they just aren’t that good long. They are laborious to read, and I find myself gasping for breath by the end. However, if they had any poetry or flow to them, then it would be my pleasure to leave them exactly as they sprang from the mind of the author, because when done right, the rhythm of words make a lovely fluid magic that cannot, must not and should not be tampered with.

  4. Alas, I, writer, thinker, ponderer, tend to lean toward flowery sentences that meander and wind down trails of thought until, at last, I run out of commas and conjunctions and must bring said sentence to an end.

    Just kidding…kind of.

    I do often have to go back and shorten things. This post gives me hope.

    Of course that 1st sentence may have been more comma splice and less run on, but you get the point.

  5. I love this post and I love run-ons because they remind me of mountain breezes and smooth silk drifting across my fingers and I want to write in them all the time. Clipped? Who needs it. ;)

  6. Pingback: “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien :: The Lord of the Rings | The Embarrassed Zebra

  7. I guess I enjoy a good run-on sentence as much as the next guy who prefers not to abbreviate what he’s thinking when he really needs to get out a passionate and heartfelt epiphany or revelation of some sort that he feels must be outwardly expressed with the same fervor in which it burns inside of his soul but it really just depends on the situation because you never can tell what the situation will call for when you are called upon and aren’t prank calls annoying??

  8. Pingback: Learning to Speak :: Purpose, Tact, and Fewer Words « Muse

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