The Paragraph Rules, for it is here your story lives or dies.
Your story is a succession of scenes/sequels composed of paragraphs. In a paragraph, every sentence should relate directly to the topic of the paragraph, or it should be eliminated.
Start a new paragraph whenever:
- a new person is speaking
- a new character comes along
- a new event happens
- a new idea is introduced
- the setting changes
- time moves forward, or backward.
When proofreading your work, check the end of each paragraph to make sure the flow between them is smooth.
Take several pages of your current draft and read them aloud. Then, edit them by paragraph for unity and flow. Read the new version aloud. To me, it is this step above all that makes your writing sound “professional.”
What do you think? Did it take your work to a higher level?
The writing book I’m currently reading is Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron. I recommend it highly for she’s written an informative, entertaining book on writing for the reader. I have five pages of notes so far, and I’m not through yet..
All story is emotion based–if we’re not feeling, we’re not reading,
Everything in a story gets its emotional weight and meaning based on how it affects the protagonist. Nothing neutral allowed.
What moves a story forward are the protagonist’s actions, reactions and decisions, rather than the events that trigger them.
What does the story tell us about what it means to be human? What does the story say about how humans react to circumstances beyond their control? Knowing the theme in advance helps you because it gives you a guide by which to measure your characters responses to the situations they find themselves in.