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enchantedfire5
10-14-2006, 06:44 PM
What's the deal with books written years ago that had overly long paragraphs? I swear I've read a paragraph that was a page and a half long before there was a break.

maestrowork
10-14-2006, 06:55 PM
People still do that now. I am not fond of them, especially if it's in small prints. Hurt my eyes. I just picked up a Jack Kerouac's book and he had paragraphs that spanned three pages. It's an acquired taste, I guess.

Jamesaritchie
10-14-2006, 07:13 PM
What's the deal with books written years ago that had overly long paragraphs? I swear I've read a paragraph that was a page and a half long before there was a break.


I'd ask the opposite. What's the deal with modern readers who can't handle long paragraphs?

Siddow
10-14-2006, 07:20 PM
I'd ask the opposite. What's the deal with modern readers who can't handle long paragraphs?

Short attention spans due to television, movies, and (gasp!) the internet.

Carmy
10-14-2006, 08:33 PM
A paragraph is as long as it needs to be.

I often wish grammar checkers would pick up on that flaw.

Stormhawk
10-15-2006, 01:00 AM
I think shorter paragraphs help readers with shorter attention spans because if they look away for whatever reason, it's easier for them to find where they left off.

But I agree with Carmy - a paragraph is as long as it needs to be. It can be one sentence or ten - it just depends on what you as a writer get out of it, and what the reader will garner from it.

Provrb1810meggy
10-15-2006, 01:24 AM
Argh, I remember when teachers always instructed us to write four to five sentences per paragraph, and that number increased as they expected us to get better. To me, it always seemed like they were focusing on quanity, not quality.

I'm fine with a long paragraph if it draws me in and keeps me interested. If not, then I don't like it, but that's the same with a paragraph of any size.

Bufty
10-15-2006, 02:08 AM
It's paragraphs that don't stick with a single topic that irritate me.

Apart from that, if it's interesting I don't mind the length although the odd break does make it easier on the eye.

maestrowork
10-15-2006, 04:25 AM
A paragraph is as long as it needs to be. People do see a paragraph as a single chunk of related thoughts/information/argument/point/idea/etc. It's a logical "breath" for both the author and the reader. And the problem is that when writers lump multiple ideas/thoughts/etc. in a paragraph as long as two or three pages it becomes unfocused or rambling -- it feels like there's no breath, as if someone just went off on a five-minute rambling rant.

Ranting is, of course, a legit way of expressing ideas -- I once heard a man rambling for an hour at a park and while it's fun to watch, I get extremely exhausted afterward. But I digress.

So inherently there's nothing wrong with long paragraphs. The problem arises when the paragraph is LONGER than it should be, when it contains more than one unit of thoughts/ideas/etc. and when it rambles and goes off on tangent.

Compare the above (three logical paragraphs) with the following (single):

A paragraph is as long as it needs to be. People do see a paragraph as a single chunk of related thoughts/ information/ argument/point/idea/etc. It's a logical "breath" for both the author and the reader. And the problem is that when writers lump multiple ideas/thoughts/etc. in a paragraph as long as two or three pages it becomes unfocused or rambling -- it feels like there's no breath, as if someone just went off on a five-minute rambling rant. Ranting is, of course, a legit way of expressing ideas -- I once heard a man rambling for an hour at a park and while it's fun to watch, I get extremely exhausted afterward. But I digress. So inherently there's nothing wrong with long paragraphs. The problem arises when the paragraph is LONGER than it should be, when it contains more than one unit of thoughts/ideas/etc. and when it rambles and goes off on tangent.


Which way do you think is better?