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Thread: Paragraphs

  1. #1


    I have some difficulty here. Now, my normal practice is to start a new paragraph anytime another character or event independent of the speaking/acting character comes into play, which is fine if that character is part of a group or in a public-type setting. But it poses issues when I'm beginning at a point when the character is alone, because sometimes it results in becoming an ugly big block of text if I can't decide on a suitable place to "break".

    I've read novels where one character's thoughts and/or actions are often broken up into two or more paragraphs, but I've so far been unable to discern what merits the breaks. I've read in a couple places that any change of "camera angle" should be a new paragraph, but my experiments with this have been awkward and sometimes confusing as it results in bits that don't really stand by themselves. And my perception of camera angles has always been the idea that the camera is focused on what's being described, such as the movements of a hand or a foot pushing down on an accelerator. That's always the way I've seen in my head when reading, anyway.

    Basically, I'm at a point where I can't seem to start unless there's at least two characters in the scene because otherwise I end up with an ugly big block of text that can ward a reader off.

  2. #2
    The reader is supposed to stop and process the paragraph when it ends. So one of the questions is when you want the reader to stop.

    Usually you are dividing things up by topic.

    When you have a big block of text that you know is too much, then you have to divide it, no matter how much it seems to be the same topic. Pick the most plausible place to divide.

    Look at your favorite author, or any author.

    I hope this helps!
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #3
    Just as one does not only make a list of phrases and then discover a way to divide them into sentences, so also one does not only make a pile of sentences and then divide them into paragraphs. One needs to write paragraphs as one writes words and phrases and sentences. One needs to keep in mind the logic of paragraphing, as one composes, just as one keeps in mind the logic of sentences. One's style kit ought to include a variety of paragraph types, employed for effect. Individual use of paragraphing seems to me to be a key ingredient of authorial style. ------------- If a paragraph feels overly long and is yet of a single, un-exhausted topic, then possibly the introduction of a new slant is wanted, to energize the climb.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  4. #4
    Just vary the lengths according to subject.


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