After getting my third and final round of edits back on Pasha and Daniel (Hanging by the Moment) and seeing some of the editor's comments, I emailed one of the senior editors with a question about sentence length and punctuation. The sentence that precedes this one should give you a fair idea of why! Well...except it doesn't have any EM dashes or semicolons; those are two of my favorite forms of punctuation. Yes, I was actually making a point with that last sentence. As one of my editors pointed out, a semicolon can be used completely correctly and still be distracting.
The senior editor gave me some great advice and sent me a link to the following article, which is really eye-opening (especially when I started looking at exactly how long my sentences tend to run). I don't think many of them are actually "run-on sentences"--or at the very least, most are fairly grammatically correct--but I do tend to be a bit...wordy. And yes, I love punctuation way too much.
Anyway, here's the link:
In a nutshell, the average reader prefers sentences between 11 and 17 words long. Twenty is the ideal maximum. But beyond that, the average reader prefers sentences with words that average out 1.74 syllables each and have an average of 5.67 letters each. So. Sort sentences with very short words is the preference of the average reader. I'm really not sure I like what that says about us as a society, but what it says to me as a writer is that instead of using my thesaurus to find the best word to describe something, maybe I should be using it to find the shortest word.
PS--in light of the general insanity of the last month, July's newsletter won't be happening. August's will come out around the middle of the month (and I may switch to an every-other month model.)