1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    making important sentences stand out

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Aug 27, 2011.

    I sometimes see writers use a new, mono-sentence paragraph when they want to underline that particular sentence, to make it stronger and to give it more attention, but is that frowned upon? Is it a sign of weak writing?
    I find it quite effectful and it makes the reader pause right before and after and give it their full attention, which sometimes is just what you want.
    Is that something we should avoid?
    I don't know who said it but someone recently was mentioning that as poor writing.
    Is there any other, alternative (better?) way to obtain the same effect, or is the wanting of that effect frowned upon too?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on how you use it, and how othen.

    In fact, I did that in the preceding paragraph. Elaborating on it in the same paragraph would have weakened the inpact. But if I do it too frequently, it loses the impact as well, because there is no longer a contrast.

    It also requires some planning. Arbitrarily splitting the sentence out won't do it, because a paragraph has a structure. The orphaned paragraphs will no longer have a theme sentence, and that theme sentence is what shapes a paragraph and holds it together.

    Although paragraphs in fiction don't have as clearly defined theme sentences like non-fiction, they still must be cohesive.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Change paragraph for jumps between theme, time, place and person. I call "turn the drama up to 11" a new theme and usually work by that rule. :p

    Seriously: if everything else is paragraphed correctly, then no one will think you're being over-dramatic. Something I notice other people doing and think I may have done before I learned more about paragraphing from a stupid song I can never ever get out of my head, is basically putting everything in one paragraph between the most obvious breaks, such as dialogue. When you decide you'll ONLY put in paragraphing breaks for either A: dialogue or B: drama then you have a more serious problem. Dunno about your writing but I thought I'd put that out there as some general advice to remind people to hit Return a couple of times now and again. :p
     
  4. Jona
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    Jona New Member

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    I don't want to be ominous but in my opinion immuculated writing isn't existable. The intricacy ensued from nurturing that it is incumbent upon a writer to find the deity words causing him to beseeche for new golden eggs of idees in the coop of his head and finally result a thud and disapointment
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    :confused:
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Apparently the deity is on a coffee break.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Huh?

    EDIT: I see I'm not alone in my befuddlement.
     
  8. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've noticed a lot of good writers put stand out sentences at the very end of a chapter. It might be a sentence that wraps up everything that has happened in the chapter. Alternatively, it may act as a bit of foreshadowing for what comes in the next one. It's a mechanism that really works IMO.

    It's natural for a reader to come to a pause at the end of a chapter so it's a good place to put an important sentence.
     
  9. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    One sentence paragraphs run the risk of seeming gimmicky, if done too often. If I see a standalone paragraph like:

    And then he saw the gun.

    I roll my eyes. Can't help it. It smacks of trying too hard. A notable example of what you're talking about, I think, is Fight Club. It works there because that's the style of the novel, very sharp and stylized.

    The last word of a sentence, last word of a paragraph, last sentence of a scene in general can have more resonance just because of the location. So it helps to restructure your sentences with this in mind, so the strongest word/image/whatever can be placed last for that resonance. This is the idea behind periodic sentences, where the final/main clause is delayed until the end.
     
  10. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    And then I said to the President...
     
  11. jso7m3711
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    jso7m3711 Member

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    Madeleine L'Engle used single sentence paragraphs a lot. (And the fact that I remember it years later and loved how she used it in her books suggests it's ok.)
    Definitely don't over use it though. :)
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got a lot of good advice. I agree, if done too often it only looks ridiculous. I'll keep that in mind and try plus the placing of it (in the end) as well. thanks guys. :)
     

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