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.
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?