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Sep 2, 2012

Keep the Best For Last


by Rayne Hall
Here is a nifty technique to give your writing style more impact: Structure your sentences so the most powerful word comes at the end. The last word touches the reader's psyche more than any other, so make it count.

Short, evocative nouns, adjectives and verbs are best. Here's a list for your inspiration: death, dead, kiss, lust, treachery, blood, fear, die, kill, deep, cold, heat, dark, boil, pull, grave, grip, grasp, hope, sear, scream, thrill, scar, bone, flesh, skull, wound, pray, pain, soul, child, flee, trap, teeth, curse, escape, safe, love.

These words, on the other hand, have no particular effect: it, then, them, across, through, there, somehow, around,  under, of, off, for, that, be, others, his, her.

Often, restructuring the sentence is all it takes, or perhaps adding, deleting or replacing one word.

She knew she had to kill it.
She knew she had to kill.

She had a painful headache.
Pain pounded in her skull.

He felt the pain then.
Then he felt the pain.

A child was in there.
In there was a child.

I recommend backloading the last sentence of most paragraphs - but only if it suits the contents. If possible, backload the last sentence of every scene, because that's where the impact is greatest.

Try it with some sentences in your manuscript, and post the “before” and “after” versions as a comment.


Rayne Hall is professional writer and editor. She has had over 30 books published under several pen names, in several genres(mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction), in several languages (mostly English, German, Polish and Chinese), by several publishers, under several pen names. For a list of currently published fiction under the Rayne Hall pen name, go to

Her recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Writing Fight Scenes (for authors), Writing Scary Scenes (for authors), Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories) and more.

She is the editor of the Ten Tales series of themed multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, and others.

She teaches online workshops for intermediate, advanced and professional level writers who are serious about improving their writing craft skills. Caution: these classes are not suitable for beginners or the faint-of-heart! For a list of her currently scheduled workshops, see

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