Monday, August 18, 2014

Writing 101: Run-on Paragraphs

Like many authors, I like to read. And sure, sometimes I like to sink my teeth into a big, meaty paragraph that takes up half the page. Sometimes I like to really get into a big scene, just slide into it, and lose myself in walls of text. Note that I said sometimes. Run-on paragraphs can be an effective tool...but I also see it get overused -- a lot. Figure out how to tighten your paragraphs up, because short really is sweet.

A Real Cut Up

Long paragraphs are great, but only every once in a while. Visually, those thick paragraphs can be off-putting and scary. Reading one run-on paragraph after another begins to feel boring pretty quickly, and it will make a book feel like it's dragging. 

Long, thick chunks of text slow down the pace of the book. Shorter, quicker paragraphs make it feel a little more action-packed. The best authors know how to balance this to create books that flow well and read quickly. So start cutting down those run-on paragraphs to a more manageable size. Balance the big pieces of text with the shorter, quicker stuff so readers easily transition through all the pages of the book. 

Remember that what you want is a smooth read -- a page-turner that readers want to race through. So don't bore them with big pieces of text. Use those run-on paragraphs sparingly, only when they're going to do you some good. And when they won't, cut them down.

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