Friday, June 13, 2008
And And Now . . . for our next trick: Balancing a Paragraph!
Step right up writers and writermen! Watch and be amazed as our trained acrobat ventures word by word, sentence by sentence, until she reaches the end of her paragraph!
But wait! You too can learn to be a paragraph balancer!
Let's hear it from a pro.
Interviewer: Tell us, Oh great Paragraph balancer. How do you do it? What is your secret?
Great Paragraph Balancer (GPB): Thanks for having me here today. Balancing a paragraph isn't really as hard as you might think. There's only two things you need to remember.
Intervierwer: Only two? Wow! What are those two things? Do tell!
GPB: The first is to balance the action. The reader has to know what is going on AND the characters reaction to the action.
Interviewer: That makes sense.
GPB: Yes it does, but it's so easy to forget about it when there are so many words to cross.
Interviewer: What's the second thing?
GPB: The next thing is consciousness. The reader needs to be able to see the shifts in the characters awareness as he/she perceives what is going on in the characters surroundings.
Interviewer: Oh. I see. No I don't. What does that mean?
GPB: It means that the reader needs to understand what the character is thinking and feeling, but also how she sees what is going on around her and what she thinks about the events that led up to her current circumstance.
Interviewer: Thanks for the great advice Great Paragraph Balancer! I'm ready to start balancing paragraphs of my own! Good luck with your balancing routine! And watch out for those split infinitives! You don't want your rope to break!
(fictionalized interview is based on "Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, chapter 4)