Once you have decided on a lead, you can write the content of your essay or article. The content will be your facts, evidence, anecdotes, support, dialogue, and so forth. To present this information, you will use the organizational tool called “the paragraph.” Most creative nonfiction requires you to write content using paragraphs.
This article explains how to write a good paragraph for a personal essay, article, memoir, autobiography, or any other type of creative nonfiction.
Types of Paragraphs
What is a paragraph? It is a group of sentences that work together to develop a unit of thought. In other words, a paragraph is a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic.
There are three types of paragraphs: topical, transitional, and dialogue. Most paragraphs are topical. A topical paragraph has a topical sentence, which states what the paragraph is about. It is followed by several sentences that provide support for the topical sentence.
A paragraph can also be transitional. A transitional paragraph helps you move from one paragraph to the next, or move from one idea to another idea.
A paragraph can also be based on dialogue. The rule for writing dialogue is that a new paragraph begins whenever the speaker changes.
The purpose of your paragraph helps to determine its structure. Before writing, ask yourself: What do I want to say in this paragraph? You have four possibilities:
- Narration. You want to tell a story. When you want to tell a story, use the storytelling technique.
- Explain. You want to provide information about something. When you want to explain, use facts and evidence.
- Description. You want to describe something to your readers. When you want to describe, provide details.
- Persuasion. You want to convince your readers or change their opinion or point of view. When you want to persuade, use rhetorical devices.
Characteristics of a Good Paragraph
A good paragraph has the following characteristics:
- Unity. The paragraph has a topical sentence and supporting information in the body of the paragraph. Each sentence in the body of the paragraph must provide support for the topical sentence. The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. If it begins with a one focus or major point of discussion, it should not end with another idea. The simple rule is: Use one paragraph for each new idea.
- Coherence. It is the trait that makes the paragraph easily understandable to a reader. There is a smooth flow or transition from one sentence to the next within the paragraph. You can help create coherence in your paragraphs by creating logical connections and verbal connections. To create a logical relationship, use the same idea from sentence to sentence. You can also use parallel structure. To create a verbal relationship, repeat key words, use pronoun reference, use transitional expressions.
- Development. Once you decide on the purpose of your paragraph, you need to determine which method of development you are going to use. There are several methods of development, including narration, description, process analysis, example, definition, cause and effect, comparison and contrast, and analogy.
In the next few posts, I will discuss how to write a unified paragraph, create coherence in a paragraph, and develop a paragraph using different methods.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them to this blog.