Tool 19 ~ Vary the lengths of paragraphs.

“Go short or long — or make a turn — to match your intent.”

I never realized this before. I understand varying the lengths of sentences, and it is what I do all the time. I don’t like getting bored when I read what I write, and I don’t think anyone else likes to either.

So I spice it up.

Yet I didn’t realize, I guess, how paragraph length can affect rhythm just as heavily, and perhaps more strongly, than sentence length.

One of my favorite ways to throw a stop sign in front of a reader is to leave one sentence all by itself. Whatever speed the reader was going, he comes to a rather abrupt halt. Just like that. The solitary sentence makes a point, being off in the white page all alone, but I never realized I could be intentional with it. I could plan to leave it by itself.

Hmmm . . . I am also a firm believer of children’s books. At least they know when to shut up and stop talking and throw a paragraph break out there. Literary critics? Not so much.

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