Paragraphs are a highly underrated writer’s tool. I like this description from Henry Watson Fowler, an English schoolmaster and lexicographer who wrote beautifully on the English language.
“The purpose of paragraphing is to give the reader a rest. The writer is saying to him: ‘Have you got that? If so, I’ll go on to the next point’.
The paragraph is essentially a unit of thought, not of length.”
Taken from ‘Modern English Usage’
I couldn’t agree more. Likewise, it’s essential that any writing has a narrative structure that flows, creates logic, and makes sense. Paragraphs can help achieve this. Essentially, think of them as a set of dominoes. Each should be strong enough to make a reader stay and ‘hook’ onto the next one.
Here’s a tip: place a little sub heading above each paragraph which describes, in a few short words, exactly what the content is. This will help identify the work’s structure and whether or not you’re repeating yourself.
Finally, for creative writing, don’t underestimate the power of the one-line paragraph (though use this technique sparingly or it will lose its impact). Here’s an example:
“We moved into the new house and although people had warned us, I wasn’t concerned. I had never believed in ghosts anyway, so I wasn’t going to let those rumours ruin my new home.
That night, everything changed.”