Brainstorming and the Concept of a Paragraph

Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1

    Brainstorming and the Concept of a Paragraph

    I am having a hard time understanding the concept of a paragraph, specifically, the nature of the unity of a paragraph and the relatedness of ideas to one another in a paragraph, things which I seemed to grasp intuitively when I was younger. Reading through one of the books on writing I used when I was in college, I learned again that each paragraph of the body of every essay usually contains a topic sentence and several sentences supporting the topic sentence. So then it would seem to me that in the process of forming ideas, only the ideas expressed by the topic sentences must be formed, because all the other sentences in each paragraph simply support the topic sentence through one of various methods of development. However, I have noticed many paragraphs when reading that do not seem to develop the thought in this way. The sentences in the paragraph seem to be related in some way, but not in the way where a topic sentence is supported by several other sentences.

    This makes it hard for me to see how brainstorming should be done. Should I, in the process of brainstorming, jot down only the ideas that will be expressed in the topic sentence of each paragraph, as though its remaining sentences merely support it, or should I jot down the full details of each paragraph, as though paragraphs do not work in such a simple way? I know that for fiction this is mostly irrelevant because each paragraph in fiction is usually just a series of events, but for non-fiction an understanding of these things is necessary.

  2. #2
    Wow. This is something I have not heard of before. I don't mean your paragraph ideals; I mean the discussion itself. When I write, I don't really consider the strict structure of the paragraph that you reference here. That is not to say that I don't employ it; I just write and somehow know intuitively what should be included in a paragraph before going on to the next one. I don't always get it right, but for the most part the "ideal" is so ingrained that I don't give it a lot of thought.

    Sometimes breaking writing rules brings about writing with the most impact.

    Should I, in the process of brainstorming, jot down only the ideas that will be expressed in the topic sentence of each paragraph, as though its remaining sentences merely support it, or should I jot down the full details of each paragraph, as though paragraphs do not work in such a simple way?
    Personally, I think it would be terribly tedious to approach every paragraph topic in this manner. I typically write fiction, but am occasionally compelled to write a non-fiction piece. When I do, I usually address the general topic of the article, rather than paragraph topics. Of course, I do take the time to identify what I want to say; the material I want to be included. But in brainstorming, I only note that this and that should be included. There could be more than one paragraph that address a particular "topic." And then I write, trying only to make sure the paragraphs are cohesive and not a bunch of disconnected facts.

    Don't know how helpful this is, lumino, but I tried.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by lumino View Post
    I am having a hard time understanding the concept of a paragraph, specifically, the nature of the unity of a paragraph and the relatedness of ideas to one another in a paragraph, things which I seemed to grasp intuitively when I was younger. Reading through one of the books on writing I used when I was in college, I learned again that each paragraph of the body of every essay usually contains a topic sentence and several sentences supporting the topic sentence. So then it would seem to me that in the process of forming ideas, only the ideas expressed by the topic sentences must be formed, because all the other sentences in each paragraph simply support the topic sentence through one of various methods of development. However, I have noticed many paragraphs when reading that do not seem to develop the thought in this way. The sentences in the paragraph seem to be related in some way, but not in the way where a topic sentence is supported by several other sentences.

    This makes it hard for me to see how brainstorming should be done. Should I, in the process of brainstorming, jot down only the ideas that will be expressed in the topic sentence of each paragraph, as though its remaining sentences merely support it, or should I jot down the full details of each paragraph, as though paragraphs do not work in such a simple way? I know that for fiction this is mostly irrelevant because each paragraph in fiction is usually just a series of events, but for non-fiction an understanding of these things is necessary.

    Wow, that is a tough question.
    I've never really tried to quantify the contents of a paragraph. I just write by feel, from reading lotsa books.

    I guess for me a paragraph is like a tiny bit of film, like a frame on a storyboard.





    Look at one of those frames, and imagine everything that happens there, then write that as a paragraph.
    Sometimes it may take 2 paragraphs, or I may show the same scene from both perspectives, or there may be comedic interaction.
    But you get the idea.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lumino View Post
    I am having a hard time understanding the concept of a paragraph, specifically, the nature of the unity of a paragraph and the relatedness of ideas to one another in a paragraph, things which I seemed to grasp intuitively when I was younger. Reading through one of the books on writing I used when I was in college, I learned again that each paragraph of the body of every essay usually contains a topic sentence and several sentences supporting the topic sentence. So then it would seem to me that in the process of forming ideas, only the ideas expressed by the topic sentences must be formed, because all the other sentences in each paragraph simply support the topic sentence through one of various methods of development. However, I have noticed many paragraphs when reading that do not seem to develop the thought in this way. The sentences in the paragraph seem to be related in some way, but not in the way where a topic sentence is supported by several other sentences.

    This makes it hard for me to see how brainstorming should be done. Should I, in the process of brainstorming, jot down only the ideas that will be expressed in the topic sentence of each paragraph, as though its remaining sentences merely support it, or should I jot down the full details of each paragraph, as though paragraphs do not work in such a simple way? I know that for fiction this is mostly irrelevant because each paragraph in fiction is usually just a series of events, but for non-fiction an understanding of these things is necessary.
    I believe you are focusing on nonfiction. My response is based on that being the case.

    Brainstorming is simply jotting down ALL thoughts on the subject. It can also include research information.

    Once all of that is written down, then the process of organizing the bits and pieces begins. That's when to decide what belongs in each paragraph.

    I was taught that for essays, the last sentence of a paragraph should lead into the next paragraph. But that doesn't matter for brainstorming. No thought at all goes into WHERE something is included during brainstorming, only WHAT is related to the overall subject.

    You may want to pick and choose what brainstormed thoughts to include. Not everything has to be used.

    So brainstorming is random. Then comes organizing, during which you may think of a few more things. Then comes the writing. The editing and polishing follow writing. Then, hopefully, publishing.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Jack of all trades; October 8th, 2018 at 04:31 PM.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.