1. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    Paragraphs and intros

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ged, Jun 23, 2011.

    Yes, so. I can name two major problems I face when writing, and they are paragraph length and character introductions.

    My paragraphs tend to be extremely short. Like, ultra short. All writing advice points toward being brief and succinct, but I took that one step forward.

    And as to the other, I usually introduce my characters without much fuss -- a small line of description here and there to let the reader know who's who. Then the story moves on, but thing is, I usually forget to say crucial stuff about the characters, such as where they come from or how they got there, and my readers have called me out on it.

    Bottom line is, I'm dreadfully afraid of making infodumps, so, naturally, I get thrown to the other extreme, where absolutely nothing is revealed whatsoever, and the readers have no idea who they're reading about.

    How much is too much?
     
  2. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I tend to stop the story to introduce a character escpecially in the early drafts of a book. My writers' group has help me introduce new characters through the eyes of character already in the story. It works much better and doesn't feel like an info dump.

    I suppose you could use the same thought with the reverse problem. You tend not to put enough information. Maybe introducing a charcter through another is a good middle ground.

    I have no idea what to do about paragraph length except get a writting partner that is very flowery with discription, maybe it will balance you out.
     
  3. ImaginaryRobot
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    ImaginaryRobot Member

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    If you don't have a copy of 9 stories by J. D. Salinger, I highly recommend picking up a copy. He writes very short paragraphs and his character introductions are brief, but beautifully memorable. Sometimes characters are even described in a single sentence. No matter what your style is like, studying his techniques can be really productive.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no fixed rule on 'too much'... it all depends on the quality of the writing... good writers can get away with much that not so good ones can't...

    just study the best works by the best writers and see how they do it... without seeing a bit of your work, no one can tell you if it's 'too much' or not...
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really see the problem here: if you think your paragraphs are to short; make them longer.
    If you know you describe your characters too little; add some more information.
    You already know what to do about the problems, so why don't you just do that?
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Bottom line: show not tell. Hope I helped. My two cents. :cool:
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why would you stop your story? Seriously, why? The only thing you interrupt a story for is sleep, food, or the mothers to come in and tell their children that they need to go to bed, and those really only apply to old storytellers surrounded by children.

    I have to agree with Tesoro. If you're introspective enough to understand what your problems are, you should, by all rights and purposes, be able to fix them. Experiment. When you read over your "fixed" prose, you should be introspective enough to see whether you've made it better or worse. Then, you fix that. Write a few one-shots. Write vignettes. Don't introduce characters at all.
    YOU need to decide what you do when introducing characters. In my current piece, I haven't described my main character's face, other than to say that it's beautiful (truth be told, he sold his tongue to the devil in return for a beautiful face, so that was sort of important to mention, you see). I don't need to describe his features, because the reader will have an idea of what beautiful is, and they can use that if they'd like to.
     
  8. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Logic's such a burden, innit?

    Knowing what the problems are does not get me any closer to the solution. It's not all as magically straightforward as just, "Oh, make them longer," and, "Oh, then you should add more information." Otherwise I wouldn't have made this fysking thread.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's right. It also involves getting off your arse and doing something about it, as hard as that may seem. I have that problem sometimes, too. And then I remember that, "Oh yeah. Getting off my arse and doing something about it will make it go away." And that's what happens. I get off my arse and I make the problem go away.

    We can't make your sentences longer for you. We can't add more information for you. Honestly, this thread is pretty superfluous. I mean, you are right. It's not magically straightforward. It's just regular straightforward. If you know what your problem is, work towards fixing it.

    (and how mature. A facepalm gif. Please avoid such things in the future. In a situation like this, it doesn't look good.)
     

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