Author’s Styles : Sequential Order (Lists)

Remember when you were little and you wrote one of the most overdone papers of all times. You know that cringe worthy paper. The one of about a certain salty and sweet food.

Maybe you’ve guessed it!

How to Make a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich 

Duh duh duhhhhhhhh….

The cringing horror that is this assignment. 

First, grab two pieces of bread and the peanut butter and jelly. Next, using a butter knife, spread peanut butter on one of the bread slices. Etcetera etcetera etcetera!

This prompt on the making of a PB & J has plagued us all since we were children. And on many occasions, I see people far from the age of a child, writing about something else as if they were writing a, ‘how to,’ for their first grade teacher. 

I have termed this as listing. It sounds like a how to, but in a story. 

For example:

Suzy Q had been assigned a big essay in her English class, so she decided to work on it. First, she gathered all of her materials like her pen, paper, and white out. Then, she sat at her desk. Next, she put the pen to paper, waiting for words to come to mind so she could write them. When inspiration didn’t strike, she pulled out her laptop. Following that, she typed in the search bar, ‘Themes in the Odyssey,’ for her research. After her research, she typed up her essay. 

Now, I highly doubt any of you liked that. And, that makes perfect sense. Writing in sequential order is a great technique to use, and many authors make it a huge part of their individual others style. But when an author lists the order of things, it makes it bland and certainly lacking of detail. 

Don’t get me wrong, the use of words like after that, next, then, first, etc. are fine! It’s when sequential order is turned into a list. Really, that example should be more than one paragraph. 

Modified example:

Towards the end of English class that day at school, Suzy Q’s teacher assigned the whole class an essay on a theme of there choosing demonstrated by the Odyssey. Suzy wasn’t one for procrastinating, so she decided to get right to work!

Quickly, she grabbed her pen and paper, plopping down at her desk. Her mind blank, she stared at the paper, unsure of what to write and where to start. 

Plagued by writers block and some slight ignorance on the book, she brought out her laptop to do important research. Opening up Google, she typed, ‘Themes in the Odyssey,’ in the above search bar. After the many websites popped up on the screen, she clicked on her favorite and most reliable one. 

SparkNotes!

From there, she looked through the given themes, finding one she felt she could surely write a wonderful essay on. With that, Suzy speedily wrote her essay, feeling confident with her work. 

I’m not gonna say this is actually interesting, but it isn’t painful to read. Boring, sure, but it’s just used font example. 

Basically, when writing in sequential order it is important to look back over your work and make sure you don’t sound like you were writing a how to. Describe certain event in greater detail, and take less away from other. Vary it. Make sure each sentence isn’t about a new event. 

This is a largely important part of writing. There’s very few literary works that include no sequential order. Therefore, it is a very important concept to understand and practice. Remember, practice always makes it better!

That’s all for today! Until next time!

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