One Sentence Paragraphs · 18 July 2020
I have decided that one sentence paragraphs are part of my style.
I do not know when I started doing it, but I noticed that I do it a lot. Maybe even most of the time. I tend to start a piece of writing with a one sentence paragraph. (I had actually written that I start a piece of writing with one sentence. Of course. Just like I start a sentence with a single word. Sheesh.) I do not know how this one-sentence-paragraph thing got started, but it seems to have become my norm. Part of my style. And I kinda like it.
If you are looking for advice on writing, do not look at me. I am not a writing guru. I am not a writing teacher. And at least in the eyes of some of my closest friends, I am not much of a writer, period. Which actually means that I am doing something right. (We all have friends like that, right?) However, if you are looking to get any advice on how to score well on an essay, do not try to emulate my writing. It is full of poor writing techniques. Like one sentence paragraphs. And sentences that are not even sentences.
I remember learning how to write for high school and college. We learned that old standby, the five paragraph essay. Write an introduction where you introduce the topic, and make sure your thesis statement is the last sentence. Then, give three paragraphs of supporting material. Then, finish it off with a nice concluding paragraph where you sum up all your points and reiterate your thesis. Put together and taken as a whole, all of those five paragraphs show how your thesis is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Oh those were the days. Follow the formula and you would get a good score. Period.
Now, I must admit that I was pretty good at sticking to the formula. I even had a difficult time adding an extra paragraph of support. Heaven help us if I had a six paragraph essay. But if you have been reading my stuff for very long, you have realized that I am not that much of a formulaic guy anymore. At least not the old formula.
Back in the old days, I was a follow-all-the-rules-of-good-writing kind of person. I just wanted to please my readers. Who were my teachers. And so I did not do any of the things I just did in the last couple sentences and the last couple decades. I did not start sentences with prepositional phrases, use incomplete sentences, or start sentences with conjunctions. Okay. Maybe I did the prepositional phrase thing, but never the others. I did not want my teachers to bleed on my essays.
“Just stick to the script idiot!” was what I heard in my mind when I would do those crazy things. Even when I went through the phase of starting sentences with “because.” I added that piece to my style just because I had seen good writers do it and I wanted to see if I might be able to get away with it too. Which is how I suppose I started too many of the style things I did or continue to do. I have seen other writers do it, so I want to know if I can get away with it too.
You may have already noticed, but I do not just stick to the script or the formula anymore. I write my own script and follow my own formula now. Not that it has gotten me anywhere, but that is a different story. Still, I like to think that I have developed a writing style that works for me. And part of that style is the one sentence paragraph. Or even the one word paragraph. They seem to have become part of who I am as a writer.
I do have one last thought about writing style. Find your own. If you want to be a writer, the first thing you need to do is write. (You would be amazed at how many people do not understand this.) Then, after you have written thousands and thousands and thousands of words, you need to write thousands and thousands and thousands more. Then, you can start to develop your own style. But you need to know the rules of good writing first. Follow those rules and you will become a good writer. Then, you can start to break some of those rules as you develop your own style. At least that is what I have heard. And it is what I have done. At any rate, start with following the rules.
Including the rule that says do not have one sentence paragraphs. And the one that says one word paragraphs are even worse. In other words, do what I say and not what I do. At least in the beginning. Then, when you develop your own writing style, you might find yourself doing crazy things. Like writing one sentence paragraphs.
(Bet you thought I was going to end with a one sentence paragraph.)
© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi
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