Paragraph variation

Paragraph variation is just as important as sentence variation. A long string of paragraphs with the same number of sentences or words makes for dull reading. Pick a page in the last book you enjoyed and examine it. You will see that the paragraphs varied in length. Varying the length of your paragraphs breaks up monotony in your prose. That’s the full purpose of variation in your writing.

There are caveats, however, as always. You should always use the number of sentences to complete your thought. That said, you often need to write more to make yourself clear. Sometimes you don’t. That is what leads to paragraph variation. Don’t pad out short paragraphs, leave them as long as they complete the thought.

That said, you don’t need to pad your writing with words to make all your sentences and paragraphs to be uniform. You don’t want uniformity. You want to keep your readers engaged. If they are presented with too much uniformity, their eyes will glaze over and they will stop reading. Your goal is to have your readers finish reading your piece, not get bored and wander off to another story.

Variation is part of what you need to keep your readers reading. That is, after all, your goal in writing the piece in the first place, isn’t it? To have someone read it?

To that end, you should do your best to write in the best way possible. No one will read boring prose no matter how interesting the topic. If the writing doesn’t vary in some way, the writing will read as stale and that leads to reader boredom. A bored reader will stop reading. Not something a writer strives for.

Look for paragraphs that visually look similar that are too close together. See if you can break up long paragraphs or combine short ones. That’s how you work to vary your paragraphs. That’s in the revision stage. If you can vary your paragraph lengths in the first draft, great, but if you can’t. You have revision. That’s all you need to do.

Interspersing long and short paragraphs will relieve tedium in your writing. Say what you need to say and start a new paragraph. Repeat the process. Complete your thoughts in each paragraph. Then start another paragraph for the next thought. That’s how you build a piece, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. Once you do that, you will find that your paragraphs will vary naturally.

Don’t think that you have to have evenness in the length of your paragraphs, you don’t. That evenness contributes to tedium, which is something we writers want to avoid at all costs. Relax, enjoy the process of writing. The variation will come and if it doesn’t, then revise. It’s as simple as that.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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