1. Taylor3
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    Taylor3 Member

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    how many sentences per paragraph?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Taylor3, Jun 19, 2010.

    in high school, I learned that there should be at least 3 sentences per paragraph. But I feel like, in writing fiction, you are allowed to do less, so there are only one or two sentences in a paragraph.

    But I'm not sure, and when I'm reading, I always forget to look.

    I know there can be tons of sentences in a paragraph because some books will have paragraphs go on for a whole page.

    But what is the minimum, or is there a minimum? thanks!
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    A paragraph should be a self-contained idea. When the subject changes, then you should start a new paragraph. It doesn't matter how long or short that is, though long paragaphs should be avoided, as large blocks of text are more difficult to read.

    Also, you should start a new paragraph with dialogue, when the speaker changes.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The minimum is one sentence (or sentence fragment) per paragraph.
     
  4. Taylor3
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    Taylor3 Member

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    thx!
     
  5. Diablo Robotico
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    Diablo Robotico Member

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    When I first started writing, I worried about things like this. I would see big blocks of text in books and think "Wow, I must not be putting enough detail in it" but now I realize that people just have different styles. Some authors can get so wrapped up in describing a scene that the paragraphs are huge and it's hard to keep going. Other authors are more bald and short with their paragraphs. It's whatever works and feels right for you. I just write how I write, and if I need more descriptions, I add it in revision.
     
  6. jeanne
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    jeanne Member

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    You can have even a word in one paragraph.

    I've seen No only in a paragraph.
     
  7. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    When I went to high school I learned that a paragraph had to be at least five sentences long. But this is in regards to essays, not books.

    When it comes to paragraphs in a book you can never have a set amount. Like Banzai said, each paragraph has it's own idea. Once that idea changes, then a new paragraph shall be born. It's as simple as that. No need to complicate.

    And yes, there can be paragraphs with only a few words. In one of the many books I read the author took a character description and turned it into a single sentence.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in creative writing, it's a matter of style, not rules 'n regs...
     
  9. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    For me its usually 4-5 sentences per paragraph; but you can have as many as you like I reckon.
     
  10. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    In this case you define paragraph as starting on a new line, not skipping a line?
     
  11. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Skipping a line would mean a section break, in my mind. This would indicate a change of scene, and in manuscript format is indicated by a #. It's sometimes shown in printed form as three asterisks.

    I don't see any need to skip a line between paragraphs. Starting a new line and indenting should be sufficient.
     
  12. Cardboard Tube Knight
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    Cardboard Tube Knight Member

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    For me there is kind of a mental flow I go by that just sort of tells me "This is where this paragraph should stop." Its a rhythm thing and I think its part me and part reading and looking for how things flow in other works.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    skipping a line actually shouldn't be done, banz... unless there's some good reason for a 'line/section break' and then the # has to be in place, as you noted, so no lines between paragraphs are left blank...
     

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