A photograph of a sunflower taken on a sunny day

Source: Sunny day, Jason Paluck, Flickr

It looks like another day of beautiful weather: sunshine and clear skies for the 85th day in a row. Who could complain about that? Strangely enough, some people might start to say that they just wish it would rain. A nice gray day of drizzle would be welcome.

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is “the driest place on Earth.” The average rainfall is one millimeter a year. Some weather stations in the area have never reported rain. There is evidence that there was no significant rainfall in the desert from 1570 to 1971. That is a long dry spell.

After a while, even the most enthusiastic sun worshipper would start to yearn for some precipitation. Weather can become monotonous, and sentences can become monotonous, too. If they are all alike, a series of sentences that are perfectly fine in themselves can become monotonous.

Look at the three paragraphs above. Which one do you think has the repetitive and uninteresting feel of a rainless landscape?

If you chose the second paragraph, you have a good eye for style. This paragraph should be revised in some way. Let’s give it a try.

A photograph of the bleak, dry Atacama Desert

Source: Atacama Desert between Antofagasta and Taltal, Valerio
Pillar, Wikimedia

Known as “the driest place on Earth,” the Atacama Desert in northern Chile has an average rainfall of one millimeter a year. Some weather stations in the area have never reported any rain at all. Evidence shows that from 1570 to 1971, there was no significant rainfall in the desert, a 400-year dry spell.

Maybe you could do a better revision than this one. Many possible ways to improve a piece of writing exist. The point is to look back at your writing (as we have just done here) and notice where it doesn’t please you (and probably won’t please a reader). Then use all the tools you have learned about revision to make your writing better.

If you would like to review different revision strategies, refer back to the lessons on sentence variety and sentence combining: Revision Strategies: Strengthen Sentence Variety/Sentence Combining and Use a Variety of Correctly Structured Sentences—Compound, Complex, Compound-Complex. These lessons will give you information about how to use these tools. In this lesson, you are going to practice evaluating sentences, adding to sentences, and combining sentences. You are also going to do sentence imitation to boost your sentence savvy.

As a writer, you need to give your readers a break from simple subject-verb sentences and sentences of the same length. You need to change it up a little and add some variety.