An assignment from a lecture series I watched a while ago was to create a 100 word sentence, to demonstrate that long sentences can build tension and be interesting. So here are my first three attempts.
With a cigarette clamped firmly between his teeth, a red scarf tied around his neck and his blue and white striped shirt, the gondolier, an image from the classic Italian tourist postcard, poled effortlessly along the winding waterways of the Grand Canal, pausing between each stroke to shout some historical, or, more often, anecdotal fact about the houses or glass factories slipping past on either side, all the time deftly maneuvering the gondola past barges laden with industrial goods and over the wake of faster craft buzzing about their business, slipping silently under the endless succession of bridges or pontes, which link the many piazzas and churches of Venice.
With his cutlass clamped tightly between his teeth and two primed pistols tucked into his waist the pirate vaulted from the forecastle, avoiding the sword fight that was engaging most of the crew and scaled the rigging like a monkey, hand over hand, pulling himself up to the topmost spar and heaving the terrified lookout from the crow’s nest, barely pausing before launching himself on a rope across the deck, swinging like a pendulum over the heads of the struggling soldiers, from where he was able to pick off the ringleaders, one by one, with a few carefully aimed shots.
The sun rose slowly, majestically, almost unnoticed, sending out fingers of light, tentative at first, soft pink hues as if testing the terrain and then longer, more definite rays, broken only by puffs of clouds, which reached to the farthest corner of the meadow, turning each blade of grass and each leaf a brilliant green, where once they had appeared black and sombre, and dispatching the morning dew into a gentle mist that rose to the heavens in the endless cycle of water and cloud.