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  1. MartinWellow

    MartinWellow Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    Likes Received:

    When do you give up on a paragraph?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MartinWellow, Aug 16, 2016.


    This is kind of a pop quiz...

    I have a couple of paragraphs that just feel like lead. Technically they get across what they need to but they're not exactly bundles of fun. Frankly I hate them.

    I've had plenty of other cases where I can massage things into something I like, but these last few just won't go.

    Would you:

    a) Keep at it, tweaking away. They'll bend to my mighty linguistic skills (ha) eventually.
    b) Rewrite them from scratch, deliberately using a different structure.
    c) Cut them completely, pretend they were never there, then see if I actually needed them.
    d) Don't worry about the odd paragraph that bugs me.
    e) None of the above, I would _________________________

    I'm tempted by d) but these are often important paragraphs in my view, and it seems like a slippery slope.
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
    Likes Received:

    It's just a place-holder.

    If it's really that clunky, I might even just write in the point of the paragraph (Charles sent his fleet to attack the Dutch) and then move on. Inspiration may strike later, in the middle of the night and you'll leap out of bed and write frantically to record your golden words. Or, you can bend the paragraph to your mighty linguistic skills on edit (and, believe me, your skills will be mightier by then). Or, you may discover that your mighty linguistic skills have been so over-used in the preceding paragraphs that all you need is Charles sent his fleet to attack the Dutch.
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I'm with D as well - not every paragraph needs to be a stunning work of art - some of them just get the job done and set up the next beauty.
  4. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

    Jun 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    (filling in the blank) look for ways to bring thought and feeling into it.

    Although it wouldn't necessarily be the last tool I would use, it will most likely be the first. The paragraphs (and even entire passages) I find annoy me most in my prose are those that, upon closer inspection, are devoid of character thought and feeling. Pure information isn't much fun to read.
  5. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

    Jan 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Manchester UK
    f) get a second opinion? You may have a blind spot and a fresh pair of eyes could help you remedy it.
  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Aug 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    London, UK
    I don't really get hung up on things at a paragraph level until I'm in my final edits. Then, if a paragraph is clunky, I'll rewrite it, but I don't expect every paragraph to sing.

    Are you a more 'literary' writer, where the language/flow etc is as/more important than the story? Or maybe you're info dumping, giving you long paragraphs of exposition?

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