A Dickensian sentence is a writing exercise
. It is a sentence
that is excessively lengthy but still uses correct grammar
and focuses around a central idea
. Ideally, it has more than 250 words. The easier it is for the reader to understand the sentence after slogging through all those adjectives, the better you've done. The Dickensian sentence is named after Charles Dickens
, who sets the bar for lengthy sentences and was coincidentally paid by the word.
An example sentence might look like this:
The assignment, seemingly designed to be a nagging, persistent mosquito destined to ruin her night, was just one more paper in her pile, one more straw on her back, one more drop into a glass filled to capacity, threatening to break through the organized net of surface tension which though brilliantly engineered grew thinner with each passing day; yet it was a drop which could not be ignored, a drop which could add that extra hundredth to a grade point average, that extra push which would make her eligible to receive the majority of scholarships which she might find useful if perchance one parent or the other decided that she would not succeed in college and that they could not afford for her not to succeed, though in truth she was beginning to doubt her abilities as well, beginning to wonder how smart she truly was, trying to find an alternative to college that did not involve sleeping on a park bench, and when she thought of that, she thought of striking out on her own, doing something she neither needed nor wanted to be taught to enjoy, but such a fantasy always resulted in practical considerations and foreboding possibilities: intense poverty, abject failure, and finally returning home to live with her mom, (who would be as sympathetic and understanding as ever, making everything infinitely worse), most likely serving coffee to some of the more successful productions of her alma mater; every time she thought of her assignments, she thought of these things, brooding on her shortcomings and insecurities, making the most menial task a nearly impossible ordeal dragged out over the whole night, only to be accidentally left in the printer tray come morning.
(Word Count: 285)
Any writers having trouble getting started, this is a great way to get your thoughts together. Try it. Maybe even post yours to the write up.