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  1. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    Structural Statistics

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by J.D. Ray, Jan 25, 2020.

    For my current WIP (Lives in Time), a couple professional authors have given beta feedback on Part One. Both of them suggested that my paragraphs were too long, and should be shortened considerably. I use Scrivener, and it has a Statistics report that gives a bunch of details about the document, including Average Paragraph Length. Here are a few things from that report:

    Words: 50,258
    Paragraphs: 800
    Sentences: 3,274
    Average Paragraph Length: 62
    Average Sentence Length: 15

    I'm interested to know how other people's work stacks up. What's your average paragraph length? Sentence length? I've shown you mine, show me yours! ;)

    JD
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    for an actual paragraph of text 62 isn't too long, but bear in mind that its an average - dialogue will include a lot of short single line paragraphs , so that average would suggest you also have some whoppers puling the average up
     
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  3. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    But what should I be aiming for?
     
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    whatever feels right

    my average looks to be about 35 - but i have some that are over 100 and others that are one line.

    I'd worry less about paragraph length per se and more about does the story flow ? If you have points at which it bogs down in a mire of wordy text, those are the points to cut your paragraph length
     
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  5. More

    More Member

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    I'm not too sure about this , but I don't think you can use an average length of paragraphs and sentences to improve your writing . It's about pace , short sentences and paragraphs add action and drama. You can slow things down by lengthening them .
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  6. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    Unless you post examples, it's hard to say exactly why they are too long.
    Run on sentences? Repetition? Blathering details?
    There is no idea length, but there is a point where a readers eyes glaze over when you don't complete your paragraphs neatly.
     
  7. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    In my real writing things are different than in internet board writing.

    In real writing a sentence is a single thought or feeling/emotion wholly described. A paragraph is a smallest possible full collection of things.

    Keeping it short & simple helps editing and reading.
     
  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    The way I would arrange this text would be this:

     
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  9. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Member

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    Incidentally, has Scrivener changed, or am I missing something?
    Seeing this just now made me look myself, and my statistics report only lists words, characters, pages (printed) and pages (paperback)...
     
  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think writing to a formula like the one you've got is such a good idea. Writing can break barriers and formulas, and good writing usually does. :)
     
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  11. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    In general I agree. And the criticism from my friend Steve was really that my paragraphs needed to vary more in size, not that they were too long. My friend Dan said that my paragraphs were too wordy, not that they were too long, a bit of a tougher nut to crack.

    On further review, I found several places where I had run-on paragraphs. I separated them into more readable segments, and dropped my average paragraph length to 52, which is quite an achievement I think.

    I'm not necessarily aiming to write to a formula, but knowing how other people write can be instructive.
     
  12. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    Here's what I see (I use the MacOS version):
    Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 12.52.31 PM.png
     
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  13. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    I'm using version 3.1.5.
     
  14. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Member

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    Ah, on PC we're still waiting for v3.

    Darn evil mac users! hehe
     
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  15. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    We're out here blazing trails for you, dude. By the time you get v.3.x, it'll be solid. :)
     
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