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Three bear paragarphs: Editor's Notes #153
November 15, 2013
Hello,

“Don't agonize, organize.”
--Florynce R. Kennedy


In this issue:

1. The three bears paragraph
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

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1. The three bears paragraph
Essentials of English 5th ed. defines a paragraph as "a group of related sentences that expand a statement by explaining it, or illustrating it, or proving it." Most writers know this even if they can't leap out of bed at 2:00 a.m.and give the definition on demand.

The troubles come in knowing how much to put into a paragraph and when to start a new paragraph. Like the three bears in the Goldilocks story who always had too much, too little, or just the right amount of a good thing, paragraphs can be too long, too short, or just right. And in spite of my comments in Get Your Writing Fighting Fit about the visual presentation on the page, the first consideration when writing a paragraph is whether or not it fulfills the definition given above.

The paragraph that is too long has multiple topics, repetition, or extraneous information. The paragraph that is too short leaves the reader unsatisfied because something important is missing. And of course, the paragraph that is just right, is exactly that; it contains everything the writer needs to know about its topic at that point in the manuscript and nothing else.

Paragraphs often go awry as the result of not having a clear outline to begin with. A good outline that develops a story or a thesis is fleshed out at the paragraph level. Many writers save time and trouble by including actual topic sentences within the outline.

Whether you take that time or not, it is worth checking your paragraphs on one of your editing passes through your text -- you do make multiple editing passes once you have finished your first draft, don't you -- to ensure that each is just right. Decide what your paragraph is about, and then check that each sentence belongs because it develops the main idea of the paragraph. Your attention to your writing at the paragraph level will increase the clarity of your writing, giving your readers the best possible experience with your story or ideas.

Refining paragraphs is just one of the jobs I do as an editor. When you are ready, contact me about editing your manuscript. http://www.writershelper.com/sample-edit.html


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2.Tickled my funnybone
When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

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3. Interesting Web site
Here is a general site on writing you might find interesting. UK subscribers will be happy to have something in their own language.
http://www.explorewriting.co.uk/WritingHintsCategory.html

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