Last week we stacked words within a sentence. Now, let’s look at stacking sentences within a paragraph. It’s basically the same: put the most striking imagery at the end to make the passage memorable.
Our last example was about a bear. “A brown large bear” was not stacked correctly. We changed it to its natural order of “A large brown bear.” Then we explored why the last word was the most vivid with the following sentence.
“Almost everyone knows what a bear looks like, so leaving a reader with the image of sharp teeth, dark claws, and a hairy body is powerful.”
But that was wrong too, so we restacked that sentence. Why? Because “hairy body” was not as powerful an imagery as “sharp teeth.”
Now let’s take the essence of those two example sentences and make a paragraph. We will probably need at least another sentence or two to fulfill the beginning-middle-end rule. Remember though, we want this paragraph to be just that – memorable. Here’s what I came up with. Can you put these sentences in order?
- The blackberry bushes were ripe for picking.
- It was summer.
- It had a hairy body, black claws, and sharp teeth.
- As I plucked berry after juicy berry, I realized I was not alone.
- With me was a large brown bear.
- I grabbed my bucket and headed off into the thicket.
Does your paragraph match mine? (Also, notice that my sentences begin with different words?)
“It was summer. The blackberry bushes were ripe for picking. I grabbed my bucket and headed off into the thicket. As I plucked berry after juicy berry, I realized I was not alone. With me was a large brown bear. It had a hairy body, black claws, and sharp teeth.”
Ending the paragraph with a vivid image of a bear and its sharp teeth is good, but how can we make it even more memorable for a reader?
Adding a bit of humor should do the trick.
Your readers’ mind is, at this point, thinking of all the possible ways your character is going to get away from this bear. If you throw in some humor, your reader may remember this specific passage better. Keep in mind, an author wants their readers to continue reading, so the end must be good.
Here’s how I would end that paragraph:
“It was summer. The blackberry bushes were ripe for picking. I grabbed my bucket and headed off into the thicket. As I plucked berry after juicy berry, I realized I was not alone. With me was a large brown bear. It had a hairy body, black claws, and sharp teeth. If my grandmother were here, she would have dropped her bucket of berries and hugged the beast.”
How would you end the paragraph? Let me know below!
I like your humorous twist – that is a good way to make it stick.
I wonder if the beginning also has to be good though, to draw the reader in?
There is so much to consider when writing…bah! These are good notes for editing, so hard not to be consumed by them though.
That’s in a future post 🙂
You’re way ahead of me!