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dante-x
02-27-2006, 09:12 PM
In academic writing, the style I have more familiarity with, their seems to be a strict sense of rules governing the formation of a paragraph. However, when reading novels I find that there is often a non-existent formula, multiple formulas, or perhaps one that I can't quite quite articulate. Is this lack of consistency within novels, in regards to the formulas behind the paragraph, a matter of style or do novelists ideally adhere to the same code as academics?

CaroGirl
02-28-2006, 08:37 PM
Obviously, fiction writing is a creative pursuit and governed only loosely by the rules of paragraphing. Generally, new paragraphs arise with a change of idea. When a thought is complete, and another thought begun, a new paragraph generally evolves. But the rules seem far from absolute. Take some of your favourite novels of various genres. You will be able to tell what type of novel it is by the paragraphing. Weighty novels, heavy on theme and idea will mostly have long paragraphs. Bel Canto is one that comes to mind. Light-hearted, simple novels, in contrast, have quite short paragraphs, some with only one sentence, or a single word.

Check out what other, published, authors have done. Whatever works.

Maryn
03-01-2006, 12:06 AM
Well, the paragraphs in novels certainly don't have to have an identifiable topic sentence and consist of support of that topic, if that's what you mean.

I was taught that popular fiction--stuff written to entertain--tends to have short paragraphs, and that looking for a logical break about six lines (Courier font) into a paragraph is a good idea. If you haven't found one by line ten, then what you're writing had better be freakin' brilliant.

Readers start skimming, even if the content is important, about then. Even knowing that, I still catch myself skimming at right about that point.

As CaroGirl said, though, 'heavier' fiction will be consumed at a slower and far more thoughtful pace in which a longer and more complex paragraph is not out of place.

Maryn, short paragraph person

Jamesaritchie
03-01-2006, 04:41 PM
In academic writing, the style I have more familiarity with, their seems to be a strict sense of rules governing the formation of a paragraph. However, when reading novels I find that there is often a non-existent formula, multiple formulas, or perhaps one that I can't quite quite articulate. Is this lack of consistency within novels, in regards to the formulas behind the paragraph, a matter of style or do novelists ideally adhere to the same code as academics?

Fiction writing simply does not use the same guidelines for paragraphing. It isn;t that one style is better than another, it's that the two styles have very different purposes.

Fiction written in the style of academic writing would read like academic writing, and that would be bad.

In fiction, the style of paragraphing is determined by what it is you have to say, and what you want to achieve. It's there for pace, for flow, etc.

veinglory
03-01-2006, 04:58 PM
I also think that a lot of academic writing has no fixed pattern. One's early essay's tend to follow postulate-evidence, or assumption-development paragraph structures and experiemntal reports have designated content for each paragraph, but academic books are pretty much styled as each writer prefers.