1. MartinWellow
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    MartinWellow Member

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    Good paragrahs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MartinWellow, Aug 24, 2016.

    How do you people handle good paragraphs?

    I find that very occasionally I look at a finished paragraph and it makes me smile with joy.
    I just know I've nailed it (in my own head, at my own level of crappy writing of course).
    It's self-contained, tight, flows, gets across the information it needs to, is enjoyable to read and may even have 'style'.

    Then I look at the paragraphs around it and the elation goes.
    The rest are clearly not as good.

    Do you just plug on and hope to make another as good, happy that you got one, or endlessly try to bring them all up to the same level?
     
  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mmm, paragraphs - the bane of my writing. I'm exactly the same and when it happens I'm in doubt a new one needs to start. Often, though, I argue with myself at length as to whether the next sentence should be a continuation or the start of a new one.

    I suppose it depends on what kind of writer you are. Do you polish as you go, or write roughly and polish in subsequent drafts? If it's the latter, just move on and sort the duff ones out when you re-write.

    I have to get each reading as good as possible (on the day) as I can, but know from experience that when you read a paragraph, even the following day, that doesn't sound right, you know almost indistinctly how to fix it because you're reading it with a fresh mind. In my case, nine times out of ten, it's that the paragraph wasn't long enough, so I just elaborate on the sentences until the rhythm feels right.
     
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  3. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    A good paragraph really only works if it's in a good story. I tend not to favor one paragraph over the next in my own writing. They continue to build on each other to tell the story. I don't think I want to have these special paragraphs. That being said, of course, as readers of books by other writers, we are always going to discover things that stand out to us in a good way. That could very well be a paragraph or even a phrase. If I had to have a best paragraph somewhere, I would want it to be the first paragraph, followed by an equally good paragraph with this pattern continuing. It can be hard to judge style based on one paragraph. And, honestly, if that favorite paragraph has the style you want your writing to be in but the others don't, than I'm not sure it's really your style just yet. I think an important part of writing is consistency. Without it, you might have a few good paragraphs that you feel proud of, but it's important to think big picture. You have a paragraph you love, and that's great. Now, do it again with the next one. If you think you found your style, try to embrace it. None of us here are simply paragraph writers. Also, I don't hope for anything when it comes to the way I write. It's work and dedication and practice and reading and reading a lot more.
     
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  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't sweat that kind of detail until I'm in the later drafts. Of course, this is mainly because I just recently (like only about a month and a half ago) found the voice I wanted to use while telling that particular story. And this was the first time I realized that I'd found the voice (I did find it once before for another story, but since I didn't realize it until many years later, I don't count that. And the story was never finished, so that makes it even less relevant.)

    While writing the current draft of my WIP, I've been stuck a couple of times and rather than waste time pining for inspiration or waiting for enlightenment so I could get back at it, I chose instead to go back and polish. And the kind of detail you're talking about is what I went for. Take a paragraph, make it sing, then go to the next, make it sing the same song, etc. etc.

    So, eventually, yes. I do that. But it's not necessary (IMHO) until you get to where the story is laid out, all the plot holes plugged and you're heading down that home stretch toward submitting or self-publishing it.
     
  5. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like me. I think this is why putting a finished draft aside for a few weeks to a few months is such a great idea. A fresh mind is a wonderful thing.
     
  6. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    And here's me chiming in from the other end of the spectrum...

    I want every paragraph to be special. I want school children (or at least, university students) to be quoting my shit for the next few hundred years. I want to be immortalized through my writing, nay! To be a god... <snort; blink; blink> Sorry, I was dreaming.
     
  7. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    It's not the size of the paragraph that matters, its how you word it.

    Also, unindented paragraphs are gross and insanitary.
     
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  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I work on the surrounding paragraphs until they're good, too. Usually, for me, bad paragraphs indicate a failure of imagination: I haven't imagined the scene fully enough to be able to include the right details, so the paragraphs are bad because they're sketchy. I use their badness to kick myself in the ass; to tell myself, "Come on - think! What is really happening here? What's the right image to describe it? How do I phrase sentences that pace the paragraph correctly?" I focus. I try not to let myself get lazy.

    Of course, that's the ideal situation. I often do get lazy without realizing it, and I wind up kicking myself the next day, when I really notice the crap I've written. I always read over yesterday's work before adding to it, and if I can see that it's bad and what to do about it, I revise it before carrying on with new stuff. I have a hard time adding new stuff unless I'm proud of yesterday's stuff. That's why I revise as I go.
     
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  9. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    In my own writing there should be no difference. Each paragraph should be flowing from the next, a concise whole - Ideally. Make a wish :rolleyes:. Occassionally a paragraph packs a punch but that is mainly the 'fault' of the content. It hits, because it needs to. But this happens mostly at chapter-endings.

    Like Minstrel, I am incapable of writing if paragraphs don't tie to another.
     
  10. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    ... sure you're talking about paragraphs?? :D
     
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