He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

Splendid Sentence

How to Write a Splendid Sentence


This Course Offers

28 Videos

These videos show you examples of incredible sentences and offers practical steps to help you take your sentences up a level

Quizzes and PDFs

Test your knowledge with quizzes and find a vast treasure trove of excellent sentences in the PDFs.

Writing Challenges

Try your hand at writing each type of sentence with innovative sentence challenges. Includes the PDF “100 Sentence Challenges.”

Five Main Sections of the Course

Four Pillars of Sentence Writing

Learn the 2/3/1 rule, how to use leaning and standalone clauses, and how to speed up and slow down a sentence.

6 Powerful Sentence Types

Gain confidence in your writing by learning the six most common sentence types that accomplished writers employ.

The Building Blocks of Sentences

Juicy verbs, playful adverbs, clever adjectives, and preposition pileups: learn advanced techniques to ignite your sentences.

Breaking the Rules

Ignore all the rules you’ve ever heard — I’ll teach you how to use passive verbs, fragments, mix high/low diction, use repetition, and make up words.

Writing Challenges

Are you up to the challenge? See if you can jump through the verbal hoops and pull off virtuoso sentences.


Whether you’re just starting to write or have several books out, this course will improve your sentences. I start with basics but escalate to sophisticated techniques.

All my lessons are applicable for any writer, no matter the genre, but most of my examples come from fiction.

This course is available worldwide.

You can go at your own pace. But if you do one video/quiz/writing challenge per day, the course would take just over 3 weeks. If you take it full time, it would take about a week.

Email me and ask: john@bookfox.com


No Cliche Advice

Think of all the rules you’ve heard about sentences. I throw them all out the window and push beyond toward practical, advanced instruction.

Not Pretentious

Look, I love a complex, poetic sentence as much as anybody. But sometimes a swift, direct, acidic sentence fits the bill. Beauty comes in many forms.

Not Boring

So many sentence books and courses put me to sleep. Sentences are joyous, beautiful, jitterbugging works of art, and we should have fun with them.

Bookfox has appeared in:

Meet Your Instructor

Hi, I’m John Matthew Fox, and I help authors write better fiction. Over the last ten years, through courses and editing, I’ve helped hundreds of authors publish their books and even win awards.

My website Bookfox has nearly 1,000 posts to help writers, and I’ve published a nonfiction book, “The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel’s Key Moments” and also a short story collection, “I Will Shout Your Name.”

I’ve been published by the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and won fiction contests at Third Coast and Shenandoah.

Ask me a question?

Course Curriculum

1. Introduction
2. Finding Your Sentence Style
2. PDF
3. Order Your Sentences
3. Quiz
3. PDF
4. Focus Your Sentences
4. Quiz
4. PDF
5. Pace Your Sentences
5. PDF
6. Vary Your Sentences
6. Quiz
6. PDF
7. Narrative Sentence
7. PDF
8. Strong Sentence
8. PDF
9. List Sentence
9. PDF
10. Long Sentence
10. PDF
11. Short Sentences
11. PDF
12. Analogy Sentence
12. PDF
13. Sexy Verbs
13. Quiz
13. PDF
14. To Adverb or Not to Adverb
14. PDF
15. Harness Your Adjectives
15. PDF
16. Preposition Pileups
16. Quiz
17. The Pleasures of Passive Verbs
17. PDF
17. Quiz
18. Glorious Fragments
18. PDF
18. Quiz
19. Everybody Gets High, Everybody Gets Low
19. PDF
19. Quiz
20. Set It On Repeat: Sentence Repetition
20. PDF
20. Quiz
21. The Playground of Wordplay
21. PDF
21. Quiz
22. Controlling Your Sentences
22 & 23. PDF
23. Evolve Your Sentence
24. Beautiful Sentences
24. PDF
25. Wise Sentences
25. PDF
26. Lop Off the Sentence Caboose
26. Quiz
27. Four Book Recommendations
28. Four Final Sentence Missions


“I LOVED IT. Seriously. This sentence course made me feel alive again. I was going through a rough time, wanting to write but not being able to. And then I found Bookfox online and decided to take it during this awful pandemic. And HOLY COW? It gave me inspiration again. I am halfway through writing a work now. I am super happy! THANK YOU SO MUCH!”

Maite Urbina

“I loved this course. I gained a lot of confidence while going through the sentence challenges, especially with writing long sentences. I am able to look at my writing and see what I have to do in order to give it more variety. I loved seeing so many great sentences; it allowed me to see just how wonderful they can truly become. ”

Sophia Pelsue

“This course provides you with knowledge you might slowly and subconsciously learn over a long period of time, but having these things pointed out and explained will definitely save you decades. I haven’t even finished the course yet and I’ve already learned things that have drastically improved my writing, simple things that without this course might’ve taken me years of frustration to become aware of. Highly recommended.”

Jessica Pennington

“Not only is this course jam packed with juicy, pacy prose ideas, a dazzling array of T-shirts, and equally dazzling array of sentences, it is also an amplification , yet nutshell version of the building blocks of reaching down your reader’s throats and knocking out their tonsils.”

Joanne Tomlinson

“This course rejuvenated my love of writing and will have a dramatic and positive effect on your sentence style. Take it!”

Ruth Pedley

“I love this course. There are videos, quizzes, and pdfs that can be downloaded and printed out. Being a word enthusiast, and while creating my own very first online course for teaching the nuts and bolts of English, I feel like I have found a diamond in the internet of crushed gravel. Ha ha! That was fun to write.”

Raven Garland

“I take a lot of writing courses and read a lot of books on writing (which tend to overlap a lot and repeat the same things), yet so much of the advice and lessons in this course were completely new and valuable to me. The instructor is a natural teacher, explains concepts wonderfully, not just the writing lesson but also the effect it will have on the story, which makes it much more interesting and easier to understand. More courses like this, please!”

Emira Mahmutovic

“The best part is the presenter. He is the bomb because he parts the Red Sea and walks on water, or at the very least teaches you how to write better sentences. His presentation of the material was fun and easy to understand, and dramatically improved my writing. The lectures are short, he reads examples from authors and provides PDF handouts. The course is worth every penny you spend. I learned more in this course than reading numerous books and paying three times the money for another course. Thank you John Fox!”

Kay A Klotzbach

“Smart sexy in a tight tee John Matthew Fox captured my attention to keep me nourished with emboldening information in a most intriguing and riveting way with his lively dialogue and varied POV’s of camera angles that delivered, in entertaining ways, invaluable ideas and insights—an inspiration for me to become a better writer. ”

Thomas Clark

“This course was fun, and I thought the teacher had a lot of good insights which I plan to use in my writing going forward. Much appreciated. I will be watching for more courses from this instructor.”

Cathy Tenzo

“Made me realize that great sentences don’t just emerge whole and flow out from the author’s mind — huge revelation for a beginner! Highly informative and definitely worth the money. Thanks!”

Faye Mallet

“The text of the course showing writing examples of how to write great sentences, as well as how John Matthew Fox presented it, was the most well laid out, easy to understand online course I have ever taken. Thank you.”

Nicky Boyd

Improve Your Sentences Now

Normally $199 — get the sale price now.

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3 x $50.00

Split payment over 3 months

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You will love “Splendid Sentences”

I’m confident this course will help you learn how to write and revise your sentences. I’m so confident I offer a money-back 30-day guarantee.


“I absolutely loved this course. I’ve been writing for ten years, relying exclusively on my intuition when it came to sentences, and I’m so glad I finally got some outside help because I learned so much. I highly recommend!”

Hannah Balagna

“This is the course I’ve been waiting for; the one with the magic formulas for becoming a better writer and engaging readers. I’m only a few videos in and it’s already worth every penny. ”

Chris Day

“This course is fun, challenging and revitalising; be ready to be perpetually catapulted into a world of wordplay, with wisdom on offer and tasks to tax and tune your expending frontal cortex. This is your call to take action. Sign up now.

And if you didn’t note the use of triple adjectives, surprising adverb, preposition pileup, sentence contrast, pacing and focus etc. you definitely need to take this course. And even if you did, there’s so much more to learn!”

Libby Kemp

“An informative and enjoyable course, and, surprise, surprise, I didn’t want to kill John. He has a relaxed, friendly way of sharing information, and his breadth of knowledge is impressive.

Jeff Cilione

“This course has drastically altered the way I think about and write sentences. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for ways to improve their craft. It’s so useful I expect to go through it a few more times.”

Andre Dransfield

“Very much enjoying the course. Expertly produced by an expert educator with top class sound and vision. ”

Tony Walker

“The videos are fast-paced and very informative.
John is easy to listen to and clearly passionate about his work.
Critique for improvement: The powerpt slides were randomly bold print on the second lines and sometimes in “all caps” for no apparent reason.”

Kathleen Miller

“By far the best technical craft information I’ve gleaned from any other course or book! My mind is blown and my sentences have never been better!”

Michelle Cornish

“Imagine a ship without a rudder. You don’t want to miss this class. Unlike other aspirational classes on writing, John provides excellent tactical points. He’s got engaging energy, lots of colored shirts and a slew of memorable lessons you won’t forget. One a scale of 1 out 5 stars I give him 10 stars!”

George Bloom

“I learned so much from this course and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve. I also appreciated the PDFs.”

Sandra Stevens

“The course is well structured, practical, and witty. Working on the course was pure delight. I thoroughly enjoyed both the course material (insightful and actionable advice) and John’s unique delivery (inspiring, funny, nonpreachy).”

Galyna Ozarko

“The most useful, practical, and inspiring sentence-writing course I’ve taken. (As a former Language Arts Teacher and a lifelong writer, that’s high praise.) John’s light-hearted approach makes the lessons fun. The PDFs and sentence challenges are excellent tools, and I’ll return to them often. Excellent value for the money!”

Sue Fulton

“This course was extremely well done. Matthew Fox has a great, easygoing style that makes me think I can actually write.”

John La Bonne

“This course was great! It was full of useful material that will help me become a stronger writer. I liked the format of the short videos and the pdfs that went along with each lesson. I immediately started analyzing and thinking differently about the books I was reading. “

Viv Maldonado

“This course is FANTASTIC. So helpful even for lightly seasoned writers.”

Sunnye Collins

“Excellent presentation and scope of information. I feel like I have a much more concrete apprehension of what really makes a sentence work. Thank you!”

Heather Malmberg

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