I’m reading J.L. Carrell’s ‘The Shakespeare Secret’ at the moment and am totally in awe. Every paragraph is like a mini work of art. They flow perfectly. Each one has a specific (and eloquent) purpose.
So with this observation in mind, I had a flick through my WIP.
Oh dear. I could see some major reconstruction was needed for certain paragraphs.
Well, the thing is, a paragraph isn’t just a load of random sentences clipped together so they look neat. It should be like a miniature story in its own right. Logically ordered. Making a point.
So having spotted the problem, I had to fix it … I rolled my sleeves up and got on with the job.
Here’s an example: I changed this:
Patrick hesitated in the doorway of the Biological Science office. The usually vacant atrium was crammed full with people. It looked so unnatural, thought Patrick. Watching the semi-drunk scientists swaying out of time to the dance music reminded him of the Sci-Fi Fan Convention disco he’d visited as a teenager. Only worse.
God, it’s hot, Patrick thought. There had to be over a hundred people in here, most of them drunk. It reminded him of the Sci-Fi Convention discos he’d attended in his youth: the smell of alcohol, a sticky carpet underfoot, and the sight of adults swaying out-of-time with the music. He turned to Leo. ‘Maybe we should just-’
I think the second version gives a better sense of how Patrick feels and what he’s seeing – first through his physical response, then through his observation linked to memory, then to his attempt to persuade his friend that they go. Better I think.
Of course, then I had to check the other 332 pages …