Paragraphing with Purpose

When paragraphs are carefully purposed, they acquire undercurrents, sets of dynamics that move the story forward in truly wondrous ways.

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Musicality: Courtesy of David Jauss and ALONE With All That Could Happen

Should I ever finish my novel and should it prove worth the effort I will have given it, no heaven-awarded stars will accumulate to my crown. They will instead accrue to the crowns of the generous writers who lighted my way. The brow of David Jauss, in particular, will blaze. I know David Jauss only …

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Defeating Amateurism: (Guest Muse, Robert Penn Warren)

Story Analysts, such as myself, often use the work "amateur" when writing about or discussing scripts. "This reads like an amateur script..." Or, "Such-and-such is clearly an amateur writer." So, do we mean this in the pejorative sense? Generally, yes. Is that fair? Probably not. While "amateur" can mean someone who isn't getting paid to …

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Banality Buster: The Paragraph First Sentence Test

Have you written a scene so banal you wanted to back it with violins and put it into an awareness campaign for impoverished fiction? A No answer to this question is as reasonable as a Yes answer because banality creeps, sneaks and steals into our writing on calm, cool, and laid-back feet. Banality is natural, common, …

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Putting the Story on the Road: The Profluent Expository Paragraph

  The most effective way to understand the profluent expository paragraph is to contrast it to the simple expository paragraph. The simple expository paragraph presents information that raises story expectations but does not initiate story momentum. It’s like a fish bowl filled with fish. Though it may contain action, its action does not trigger reactions …

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Superstar Paragraphs: the simple expository and the simple action

Thanks to a host of sentence enthusiasts—my favorites: John Gardner, Virginia Tufte, Stanly Fish and Constance Hale—the syntax unsavy can learn to structure simple, complex, compound, periodic, forward-leaning, subordinating, additive and other sentence forms. Good prose and best-selling fiction cannot be created without them. Good paragraphs, like good sentences, also have identifiable forms and functions. …

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Risky Business: The As Clause Revisited

“A complex sentence has an internal dynamic: the clauses have a distinct relationship to each other and allow us to emphasize the relationship of ideas.” (Constance Hale, Sin and Syntax, Three Rivers Press, 1999, 2013) For the week of March 18-24, 2015, fifteen of the first 34 submissions to the online critique group, Critique Circle, …

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