I’ve been thinking a lot about flow and construction of sentences and whole paragraphs. Authors spend a fair amount of time on playing around with the words and sentence structure to find that all important flow and feel. It all comes down to how it sounds and reads on paper.
On paper, little things can really make a difference. Simple things like the term ‘had had’ which is acceptable English but on paper, doesn’t always look or sound right. Most of the time, the sentence works without the need for repeating the word.
I’ve been reading a fascinating book about what publishers look for in manuscripts. They look for any excuse to reject a manuscript and simple things, like two accompanying words starting with the same letter could be found sloppy. So it really is important to get the best manuscript possible. Rewriting is the most important and time consuming part of writing and wordsmiths probably spend most of that time making a sentence sound the best it can possibly be. I think writers can learn a lot from poets in this aspect.
It becomes very important to learn the proper use of semi-colons, colons, dashes and parentheses when you are playing around with sentence structure. Misusing one of them will disrupt the flow, and you may not notice it doesn’t sound right, when you read through later. Other things you need to look for are echoes, alliteration and resonance.