While waiting for more feedback on the novel draft we did a little exercise today, trying to use three different styles on the same substance. A couple is entering an adventure on an island. First short, then medium, then (very) long sentences:
He looked. Fresh water. The boat gliding. He saw the islands.
“Look.” he said.
She turned around. In the deck chair.
There, far ahead. They were getting closer.
“I love you.” she whispered.
A slight breeze passed.
The beach was appearing. Slowly.
They both smiled.
It was about to begin.
As they entered the beach, they could feel the soft and golden sands under their feet. He felt an incredible joy inside. Finally they were here, and the adventure could begin.
He looked at her, as she had closed her eyes and turned her head up towards the skies. She was adjusting and absorbing the air and the feeling of the island. All around them was blinking seas with shimmers of sunlight. And in the middle of the island they could see a distant mountain top.
Around the beach in a half open circle, there were big palms with coconuts. They both felt like they were entering a new world. “This is it,” he smiled to her. “We finally made it.”
Then long ones:
For him there was a subtle feeling of the sand grains on the beach carefully amassing in little formations underneath his feet, that was like a little stroke of a landscape taking shape in the earlier stages of the continents in their infancy and the early fragile years on the planet, at first untouched but slowly and through the forces of nature gradually being molded into their kaleidoscope of terrains and scars after movements and fractures, and then with the passing of times and shifting climates of deep frost, intense heat, the growth of green nature onto the surfaces, until one day seeing the grace of a tiny flower in yellow and pink, blossoming under the sun.
He turned around and smiled at her. She looked back with her eyes shimmering like the seas around them, softly and loving. She then looked down at her feet, and at the golden sands with some new footsteps in them behind her, the markings of a new arrival that would soon be vanished by the winds, as an instant that never seemed to have happened in the long remembrance of the beach, with no deeper impressions but merely just a fleeting touch, and then a soft wind of oblivion and nothingness.
“I’ve dreamt about this,” she said slowly with a voice of contrast and expectation, as the scene of the beach as an element of her imagination and now the reality of the senses were merging into one single sensation of experience, and one of a growing delight and sensitivity that soon would disentangle a withdrawn tension within her, and liberate a new feeling of awareness of the lightness around her.
Reflections: It’s very hard to compare such different styles in terms of reading. In part it would be a stylistic choice of the writer, and maybe the style should follow the content, or the mood. But somehow in the longer term, the longer sentences might be more interesting to read several times, as they contain so much more depth, feeling and emotion, and reflection, and hidden substance in the layers of the language. But it is very demanding to read.
As for writing, the longer ones takes so much more time, and energy. The quicker ones are more exciting. And maybe the medium ones are the practical choice to tell a story with some deeper parts to it, but keeping a certain momentum.
But still, it’s probably just the long ones.. that bears repeating many times, and still gives a new experience.