Top Tip Of The Week

The Perfect Paragraph

When  an idea comes to mind and you’re eager to get everything down on paper, it’s easy to forget about paragraphs and making sure your story has a good mixture of short and longer paragraphs. In fact, sometimes paragraphs can be forgotten about altogether. Read the following passage from a short story:

Mummy walks over to me and ruffles my hair. ‘Don’t do that, Mummy. I’m a big girl now.’ ‘I know you are, love,’ Mummy smiles, then frowns, looking into the distance. ‘I don’t nag your dad, do I?’ ‘Nag, nag, nag. Yes, you do a bit, Mummy. You always want me to tidy up my room and you’re always telling Daddy off.’  Mummy chews her lip. I look into her beautiful brown eyes. I’m glad I have brown eyes and not Daddy’s blue ones. I hate blue. Mummy flicks her fringe of blonde hair out of her eyes and sighs. ‘I don’t mean to.’ ‘I know, Mummy. Daddy can be a bit silly at times, but he does work hard.’ ‘I suppose so, but I wish he didn’t work such long hours.’ ‘Daddy has to work at night. You get much more money at night. I’m going to be a night taxi driver, too.’ ‘Oh, Amelia, you can be so much more.’ ‘Daddy’s a good taxi driver. I want to be a taxi driver!’

See how it’s difficult to work out who is who, what’s going on and who’s saying what. Now read the same passage, broken down into paragraphs:

Mummy walks over to me and ruffles my hair. ‘Don’t do that, Mummy. I’m a big girl now.’

‘I know you are, love,’ Mummy smiles, then frowns, looking into the distance. ‘I don’t nag your dad, do I?’

‘Nag, nag, nag. Yes, you do a bit, Mummy. You always want me to tidy up my room and you’re always telling Daddy off.’

Mummy chews her lip. I look into her beautiful brown eyes. I’m glad I have brown eyes and not Daddy’s blue ones. I hate blue. Mummy flicks her fringe of blonde hair out of her eyes and sighs.

‘I don’t mean to.’

‘I know, Mummy. Daddy can be a bit silly at times, but he does work hard.’

‘I suppose so, but I wish he didn’t work such long hours.’

‘Daddy has to work at night. You get much more money at night. I’m going to be a night taxi driver, too.’

‘Oh, Amelia, you can be so much more.’

‘Daddy’s a good taxi driver. I want to be a taxi driver!’

Remember that a new paragraph is necessary when you change subject, time and place. A new paragraph is also required for each different character’s speech.

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8 Responses to Top Tip Of The Week

  1. TanGental says:

    Very pertinent advice Esther; I am always fighting with paragraphing.

  2. I love the quote – that’s so true! Great tip on paragraphs 🙂

  3. mihrank says:

    I have to admit, I adore your blog, language and the positive energy!

  4. Thanks for the tip. I look forward to your funny sections

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