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By Johannes Helmold

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Hi everyone!

Are you fond of long paragraphs? Paragraphs that can take half of a page or even more, and consist of complicated and perplexed sentences? Paragraphs, after reading, you cannot remember what it was about and lose the storyline under descriptions, details, and literary techniques?

I bet not. However, this is one of the mistakes many authors commit; reducing the length of a paragraph, in its turn, can instantly improve the quality and readability of your writing. So, mind shortening your paragraphs in the following cases.

  • When you introduce a new idea. It does not matter if it was you who came up with this idea, or it’s your character to whom it belongs, it should be placed in a new paragraph.
  • Something new happens. It doesn’t need to be something significant, even if the action is simple: like drinking a glass of milk or a phone ringing, it still requires a separate paragraph.
  • When the location, decorations, or setting changes. Mind that sometimes it might even require you to start a new chapter.
  • A new person enters a discussion, starts a monologue, or draws attention to themselves in other ways.
  • Introducing a new character.
  • There is a time shift. For example, if you write about a character’s flashback in memories, or mention something that will happen in the future, you will need a new paragraph to describe it.

These rules are needed to make your writing linear and logical; otherwise, your writing will look like a mess of words and events. Many writers—including famous ones—ignore these rules. But remember, ignoring rules is justified only when you have learned to use them effectively.

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