Thursday, September 16, 2004

Don't make your paragraphs embarass themselves

I think one of the overused writing mistakes that bothers me the most in others' writing - probably because I'm always tempted to do it myself - is the dramatic afterthought paragraph, or exhale paragraph. It's when someone appends to a thought a sentence or two intended to emhpasize or make a smarmy little full-stop transition.

Just like this.

It's annoying - eye-gougingly annoying - when used loosely, and, oh, loosely it is used. Observe::

"The idea is that if you can get these things written down, into a system you trust, and know that you'll be reminded of them at the appropriate time, you can get them out of your head, and use all that spare head-space for something more useful. Storing cheese, perhaps.

Well, apart from the cheese, anyway. That's my own suggestion."

ARGH. Not only is that embarassingly far from the shocking grand reversal that the author implies it is (on purpose or otherwise) with that two-sentence paragraph sticking out like a bare ass, but he also completely declaims the humour he was going for a mere sentence earlier. A disturbing mixture of hubris and underconfidence.

As I say, I'm frothing like this because it's a bad habit of mine too. I am. not. crazy.


Blogger Debra said...

You're frothing, and I'm laughing because I do it constantly. Luckily for my instructors, I don't do it on anything I have to turn in, only in my blog, and pointless musings that somehow find their way into being as text.

October 2, 2004 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger pigpogm said...

Harsh, Inkheart, but fair. OK, I was a little offended at first, but I've just gone back and re-read, and you're right - the humour I was aiming for is there *before* the extra paragraph, and actually gets weakened by it.

I'm afraid I've just edited the article and removed that line, but since you quoted it in your article, it shouldn't spoil the point you were making.

Maybe the 'joke' is still terrible, but it's easier to improve my writing than my sense of humour ;)

October 28, 2004 at 5:45 AM  

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