Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Power of the Paragraph

I've been working diligently on my next book. Deep Within The Stone. I'm almost done. I'm 54,000 words in and heading for home. YEA! But I'm not quite there yet.

 When you write, it's a never ending learning experience. I learn something with every book. I usually do research for every book before I start and all during the writing process. For this one, I've done research on sculptural techniques for different mediums, magic, being an empath, and gargoyles: their history, purpose, structure. I have a wonderful coffee table book I've left out for people to look at and enjoy. If you're as interested (obsessed) with gargoyles as I am, you might want to check it out. The text is written by Stephen King and the photos by F-stop Fitzgerald.  It's very entertaining. And it's about the gargoyles in New York City. Titled Nightmares in the Sky. What else would King be writing about? LOL

But to get back to the subject I really want to talk about: writing.  Something else I'm obsessed with. Writing in itself is learning. It's like taking notes to study for a test, but more entertaining. And there's more to it because you're applying what you learn each time you do it.

Lately I've been concentrating on Sentence Variety Patterns. When you write a paragraph you attempt to use a variety of patterns so you don't use the same sentence structure for every sentence. Like, for instance, starting every sentence with he or she.

So I did some research about the ways to start a sentence to switch it up and though it's automatic for me to do that, I'm making a conscious effort to pay closer attention to doing it. I'm finding I don't have to do as much editing because I'm making an added effort.

Here are some ways to start a sentence that will help you mix it up: (I'm going to use sentences from my current WIP Deep Within The Stone as examples.

Sentence Variety Patterns

Start with a prepositional phrase—(tells where or when) From his perch on one of the spires, he studied the surrounding area.  (No comma unless you use two prepositional phrases in a row) After six hundred and sixty-two years as a monster, he no longer believed he would ever return to his human form. (I think prepositions are like potato chips, I can't seem to use just one.)

Start with an adverb clause— (starts with if, when, although, because, whenever, and since)When the people’s movements became sluggish and sparse, he tired of watching them. 

Start with an infinitive phrase— (word to followed by a verb) To produce something everyone can view, discuss, and enjoy, will make the work I sell more valuable.

Use an adjective clause—(starts with who, which, that, whom, whose, but sometimes those are understood in the sentence)  The tactile surface of the dry clay felt silky smooth as she ran her fingers over the figure's arm.  

Use an appositive—(added information about a noun or pronoun, inclosed by commas) He tried to guide her to safer subjects, more mainstream art forms, and that wasn’t where she wanted to go. 

Begin with a participial phrase— (a participial is a form of a verb used as an adjective and they usually end in ING) Simon, busy driving the car, was unaware of her anger. 

Begin with a gerund— a gerund is a verb with an ING ending that is used as a noun.   Driving home, they discussed the Richards purchase of her drawings. ( I have a pet peave about these. I only use them if there is a possibility of two actions occurring at the same time.)

I've paraphrased this information from The Best Little Grammar Book Ever (101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing and Speaking by Arlene Miller. 

I don't claim to be a grammar guru, so if I have any of these wrong, sing out. 

I do try to use complex sentence structures in my writing and make it as active as possible. Every paragraph in a story should tell a story within itself.  Like this  example paragraph: 

 Simon Martin climbed from behind the wheel with the grace of a dancer. His black suit fit his tall, trim frame to perfection, emphasizing his dark hair and chocolate brown eyes. His rich gray shirt, paired with a black and red silk tie, looked too dressy to be anywhere near her studio. Hyperaware of her appearance, she looked down at her dust coated coveralls and grimaced. The jeans and t-shirt beneath them weren’t much better.

Stringing those complex sentences together into paragraph after paragraph is like telling a thousand short stories. 

My goal is to make every paragraph so much a part of the story, every one of them is interesting. Maybe an impossibility, but I'll keep trying. 

Read on,
Teresa Reasor  


Christoph Fischer said...

A good goal to make every paragraph count. I'm sure you'll achieve that!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks, Christoph. I attempt to work toward making my writing as rich as I possibly can.

Unknown said...

Great post Teresa! I enjoyed reading it.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much Stephany. I think you and Christoph are already on your way to doing exactly what I described in my article.