How long is too long?

After recently sending a piece of my writing, to the lovely Gareth Worthington (@agresticpublish, he wrote a book. Its good, go read it!). He politely pointed out that I had, in fact, written a contender for the world’s longest sentence clocking in at a whopping 93 words. Yes I am a little full stop phobic. I have a tendency to write how I talk, fast with no pause for breath. So it got me thinking about sentences. How long is too long?

A grammatical unit of one or more words that expresses an independent statement, question, request, command, exclamation, etc., and that typically has a subject as well as a predicate, as in John is here. or Is John here? In print or writing, a sentence typically begins with a capital letter and ends with appropriate punctuation; in speech it displays recognizable, communicative intonation patterns and is often marked by preceding and following pauses. (

So if one is the minimum what’s the maximum, well, there are a few contenders for the longest sentence in English.

  • 469,856 words      – Nigel Tomm’s one-sentence novel, “The Blah Story
  • 1,288 words      – From William Faulkner’s Absalom,      Absalom!
  • 11,282      & 12931 – Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses (two sentences).
  • 13,955 –      Jonathon Coe’s 2001 novel The      Rotters’ Club contains a 13,955-word sentence


At 93 words mine is looking pretty miniscule when measured up to these monsters. But these really are the exception so I headed to my bookshelves to see what my favourite authors sentences looked like. I studied pages from each book and counted the number of sentences. Never being able to entirely shake off my science background, I opened excel and started recording my findings. The lure of the graph button was too much and, well below is what it spawned


It would appear, over the years, the trend has been to decrease sentence length, so I conclude that I am not full stop phobic just born after my time!

Please note no full stops were intentionally removed in the course of writing this post.


Blue Moon by J.A. Belfield (@JABelfield)


Sleep is an extremely valuable commodity in a house with 3 children under 5, so the fact that once again J.A. Belfield has lured me into giving up a large chunk of it speaks volumes for the next instalment of the Holloway Pack story.  This was a book I both couldn’t wait to read and dreaded starting, unsure whether I wanted to know what Ms Belfield was going to put the characters through this time, maybe I was better remaining blissfully ignorant……. I was wrong, these books just get better and better.

Blue Moon sees us back in the present, following Jem as she settles into life as the only female member of the pack. Life is good, so of course something is about to go very wrong.  When a pretty young woman shows up making eyes at her boys, Jem is on high alert. The boys however clearly thinking with their….. Well you get the idea, lap up (pardon the pun) the attention.  Despite Jem’s concerns the boys forge ahead with their budding romance, creating tension within the pack and ultimately leading to the final confrontation.

The pace is quick, making it extremely difficult to put down, this time round we really get to see the bonds between pack members and more of how they interact with each other. The descriptions of Jem’s emotions are raw and powerful, I loved it.  When the end came I felt both a little disappointed that is wasn’t as action packed as I thought it was going to be but mostly relieved, I don’t think I could have taken much more emotional turmoil.  Resonance is the next instalment and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

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