Saturday, August 6, 2016

Steering The Craft: Three

I find myself thinking a lot about sentence length as I approach an intense chapter of The Stone that Sings. The timing of the exercises couldn't have been better for me. I've always been cognizant that sentence length mattered and could help pace a scene, but only when forced to write an entire paragraph of short sentences  did I realize that I gravitate toward longer sentences.
That's not bad. It just means that I might be missing an opportunity to better pace my quick events. At the same time, I'm still reading Song of Solomon where there is a change of this deeply reflective moment to the main character nearly getting garrotted.  What made it interesting is that sentence length didn't seem to change much, but the intensity remained, though there was a moment where I thought 'wait, what just happened'? It was really interesting.

There were two exercises in the chapter. One to make sentences ultra short, the other to write a very long sentence. Unlike the paragraph with no punctuation, I found this a lot easier to edit, and went off the beaten path some to write a nonfiction bit for it.

I thought I'd add it here:

The action begins with an infrared sensor, a semiconductor, a relay, a solenoid, and a cylinder, who are helpless to do anything without that a curious hybrid of wave and particle, moving through the infrared spectrum, better known as photons, who never do anything with just a few and when in action number in a collection of more than millions, billions, trillions, or quadrillions, or any number that even has an ‘illion’ but a population that is best represented powers of ten, also called scientific notation, who as that almost uncountable mob, rain down in a pattern that deviates from what, once settled, a passive infrared (PIR) sensor decides is “normal”, whereupon the sensor’s circuitry changes the charge of a pin from neutral to positive which is detected by a microcontroller working through the workings of an electrical loop of its own, called a ‘program’, alters the charge of yet another pin, for the arduino has many, allowing an attached relay to energize a coil, a repeated loop of copper wire around a metallic core, until that coil gives changes the electric to the magnetic, and that magnet attracts a small metal lever away from one set of contacts and on to another, changing its position from open to closed, much like a light switch, an action akin to opening the floodgates to a much larger, and distinctly separate flow of electrons -- it is the role of the relay, to separate tiny flows of current from much higher voltages and currents that would make short work of delicate semiconductors -- which in energize a larger coil, creating an even larger, more powerful magnet for a larger job, easing back a large pin -- not far, but just enough, so that the seventy or so pounds of pressurized air, previously held back by the valve and confined to a compressor tank, can work its way like an unruly mob jammed in a doorway, and force the pin open even wider, and send the air down a hose to the bottom of a cylinder, allowing it to extend.

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