Day 8 – The Art of Paragraph Writing

Yesterday, I wrote about the science of paragraph writing. Today, I’m talking about the art of paragraph writing. If you have a paragraph that looks good, there is a better chance that it will be read. Think about it. How many times have you looked at a document and groaned? The A4 page is one long paragraph.

You look at the document and groan again. Where do you start? What’s the point of it? You start reading and by the third sentence, you’re bored. You skip to the last line and hope that it has a nice concluding statement. I had a friend at college who wrote incredibly long paragraphs. Comparing his document with mine, there was a world of difference.

This is how the two articles would differ:

Give your paragraphs a chance to be read. Here are three ways to help you along the way.

1. Length of a Paragraph

How long should a paragraph be is an age old question. To truly answer it, I would recommend that a paragraph be as long as it takes to write, explain and conclude one idea.

However, reading style has changed. Thesedays, we prefer to read and glance rather than sit down and long text. Short paragraphs are read quicker than long ones.

There is no real rule of thumb as it’s important to make your point in your paragraph. However, it should be no more than 7 lines. If a paragraph is more than 12 lines, then you should break it up into two or three paragraphs.

Don’t worry if you tend to write long paragraphs. You can easily edit them from here on in. If you write long paragraph, look at the points you make. Where there is a logical point or a leading statement, then that would be place to cut the long paragraph and start a new one.

2. Design

The length of your document not only allows for easy reading of your document, it also adds variety to it. You know when you’re at a conference and the speaker talks in the same monotone, well, keeping your paragraphs all the same size can be just as drowsy. You want to add a bit of rhythm to your document. Changing the length adds that bit of salsa to your documents. Also, have a paragraph of one sentence or two lines right beside a longer paragraph. It highlights the two points in the two paragraphs.

    Use indentation as another means of designing your paragraph. Some articles or letters indent the first line of the paragraph (like this one).

nother way to add a splash of paragraph design is to emphasise the first letter of the paragraph. How many times have you seen this in a children’s book? It’s eye-catching and adds a bit of depth to your story. It’s primarily used at the beginning of the document.

3. You is the Favourite Word

One of the last ways to add a bit of art to your paragraphs is to add the word ‘you‘, ‘your’, ‘yours’. What is anyone’s favourite topic? Themselves! Write your paragraph as if you’re talking to the person. Saying ‘you‘ or a variation of ‘you‘, the reader can see themselves in the text and can relate straight-away.

Day 8 – Homework

Take a look at your web copy. Can you:
1. Change the length of your paragraphs to add depth to your page?
2. Use a design element to lift the words off the page?
3. Add more use of the word ‘you’ to your text to relate to your reader?

About the Author

Denise FayI'm Denise Fay, an international marketing communications advisor. For over 16 years, I've been helping corporations and business owners to promote themselves by communicating the right message with the right audience. They achieve clarity, leads and sales. I'm also an award-winning author, engaging speaker, entrepreneur, business owner and mum of two, I have written copy that has won awards, won clients and most importantly, built relationships. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to how we relate to others. And writing great copy that engages with your reader is well worth its weight in gold. You too can find wealth in your relationships. I can guide and help you find your words, create an engaging message and build a relationship that results in repeat sales with your customers & leads. Contact me today to get started. Come find me on Google+View all posts by Denise Fay →

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