Paragraphing

by Anabyss
(Trinidad)

Question: How do I structure a fiction paragraph?


Answer: A few tips:

Try to make each paragraph about one thing only: an action, a reaction, a character's statement, a description of something, or an idea.

Some paragraphs may be quite short - a line or even a single word of dialogue. In longer paragraphs, the first sentence generally introduces what the paragraph is about or the start of the action. The sentences that follow expand upon the first sentence. You may end with a concluding sentence.

You'll want to vary your paragraph lengths in order to keep your writing interesting. Note too that, in fiction, ideal paragraphs are fairly rare. You mostly need to trust your sense of when you are moving on to a new topic and put in the paragraph breaks to signal the transition.

It's a good exercise to look for writers whose style you like and pay attention to how they structure their paragraphs. You'll find some are very terse compared to others.

If you are writing for children, everything is simpler and paragraphs will be much shorter.

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