Hi! I’m Ms Nellie Lim, a teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. Today, let’s delve into how we can dress up a boring paragraph. One of the common pitfalls in writing is not being able to engage the reader. While you may have an interesting storyline, the reader may lose interest and stop reading because your paragraphs are dull and boring. So let’s ask ourselves: how can we address this common problem?
For starters, avoid sounding monotonous in your sentences. It is a common habit for writers to always start with a proper noun such as a character’s name or a pronoun like ‘he’ or ‘she’.
For instance, look at this boring paragraph:
After the first two sentences, the reader will soon get tired of reading sentences that start with ‘Daryl’ or ‘he’ continuously. So how can we change this to continue engaging the reader?
Here are three tips to do so:
Use a cause-effect connector such as ‘as’ or ‘because’
Add a transitional phrase that shows the manner of the action
Insert a sentence which shows the character’s thought
Did you notice that some ideas can be combined to improve its flow? Yes, we can in fact pick out ideas that can be paired together. Additionally, instead of simply repeating actions in series, we can break the monotony by adding a thought to reflect what the character was thinking.
Let us now look at how we can rewrite the earlier paragraph by applying these 3 tips. I will be using the same part (highlighted in blue) in all the examples to show how this can be done:
Tip #1 – Use a Cause-Effect Connector
You can combine the two sentences using ‘as’ or ‘because’:
As he noticed dark clouds in the sky, he started to quicken his pace.
He started to quicken his pace because he noticed dark clouds in the sky.
Just a quick note! Be careful not to start a sentence with ‘Because’ as it is grammatically unsound. You can only use ‘because’ in the middle of a sentence.
When you use a cause-effect connector, you are telling the reader clearly the reason why Daryl started to quicken his pace. This helps the reader to empathise and understand why Daryl decided to walk faster.
Tip #2 – Add a Transitional Phrase That Shows the Manner of the Action
– Suddenly, he noticed dark clouds in the sky and started to quicken his pace.
– All of a sudden, he noticed dark clouds in the sky and started to quicken his pace.
Notice that the transitional word ‘Suddenly’ or the transitional phrase ‘All of a sudden’ tells you how Daryl noticed the dark clouds. This also acts as a simple way to foreshadow a problem that can occur in the next paragraph as a result of Daryl being caught in the heavy rain.
Tip #3 – Insert a Sentence Which Expresses the Character’s Thought
He noticed dark clouds in the sky. “Oh no, I can’t be caught in a downpour. I have to hurry,” he fretted as he quickened his pace.
By adding a thought, you make the character seem more believable and realistic as the reader could clearly tell how the character was feeling. One way to decide on what to write as the character’s thought would be to think of the consequences that the character would soon face. This will also help the reader to imagine the undesirable situation the character was in.
Now that you know the 3 tips to dressing up a boring paragraph, I hope you will apply them in your writing. Do share with us in the comments if you have any other effective ways of making your paragraphs more interesting for the reader. Till the next time we meet again, adios!