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Longer paragraphs

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:29 pm
Stori says...

I have a problem with this. How do you flesh out paragraphs so they don't all end up being one to three sentences?

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:21 pm
Rosendorn says...

Paragraphs are things related to an idea, usually. So if you want longer paragraphs, figure out a few more things you want to say about a certain idea. Also, by using more complicated sentences you can usually expand the length of your paragraphs; because you can't really change ideas/paragraphs mid-sentence, you have to write a longer paragraph. :P

There's also the school of thought you shouldn't fight your writing style. Short can be very useful to get a fast-paced mood or getting right to the point.

Also, do not worry about this sort of stuff in early drafts. You'll for sure revise the story in later drafts— paragraph structure is one of the minor things you focus on as you look at the very tone and structure of a scene. Ie- one of the refining points that you only worry about in editing. Keep early drafts on just getting the words out and not really worrying about the flow, pace, paragraph length, ect.
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Tue May 03, 2011 4:30 am
Jashael says...

It actually depends on what you're writing. First, you have to study how to write a paragraph. What is a paragraph? You've got a topic sentence, supporting sentences. When writing a paragraph you've got to know what the paragraph is about!

When I said that it depends, that's because a essay paragraph would be different from a novel paragraph. In essays, each sentence should advance the whole piece. The same goes for a short story. But if you're writing a novel, that's where paragraphs could actually be long as you like.

When I want a paragraph long, I usually describe everything. Yes, every bit of detail. I don't go under five sentences for narrative paragraphs in my novel. But I'll have to tell you, fleshing out really isn't necessary. Don't force your paragraph to be long. Sometimes, a paragraph (in prose) could be a sentence long but with great impact. I've read a lot of those kinds of paragraphs. It might seem to go astray from the standard definition of paragraphs, but that's just the way it is.

Hope I've helped.

Jash ♥
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Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:27 pm
tigershark17 says...

Read "The Writer's Guide to Powerful Paragraphs by Victor Pellegrino. It will help you a lot!
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Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:53 pm
Dynamo says...

Basically, the rule is to stick to what you are talking about within the paragraph you're writing it. For example, here's a paragraph I wrote for my story:

He used his knife to cut the food up into bite-sized chunks before using his fork to put the first piece into his mouth. The inside of the fish was soft and well-cooked, but the outside was a little tough and tasted slightly of char, meaning it had been kept over the fire too long. The fish was bland, but doable. Regardless, Kai felt like gagging every time he tried to swallow a bite. He could taste a small amount of spice in the food, perhaps an attempt from the mothers to make the meal more enjoyable. But eating the same thing day after day had long since taken its toll on Kai's taste buds, and he dread every bite he took.

In this paragraph I only wrote about what the character thought of his food while he was eating it. What I wouldn't do is start elaborating on what he's going to have for desert in the same paragraph, I would wait until I start the next paragraph to do that. Just try to think of more ways to add to the information you're trying to convey to your readers.

But while it's good to have large paragraphs that give your readers more information, they don't all have to be long. I remember one of my old english teachers telling me a paragraph has to be around 8-10 sentences long, but really you can make it as long or as short as you need it to be. The only rule in this case is to not have a paragraph that consists of only one sentence, unless maybe it's a character's dialogue, but that's a topic for another day. Once you get the hang of it you won't even need to think about it. To tell you the truth, I don't even know the proper etiquet to writing a paragraph. I just write what feels right, and I think you should too.
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