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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

White Space

I think I've mentioned before that I teach writing to teens once a month. Do you want to guess what the #1 thing they need to work on it? Paragraphs!

My teens have the "sound" of books in their head, but they usually wrote everything in 1-2 paragraphs. One EASY tip for writers that not everyone realizes is the more white space on the page the better. Here is what Stephen King has to say about that.

"Observe the pattern--the lines of type, the margins, and most particularly the blocks of white space where paragraphs begin or leave off.

You can tell without even reading if the book you've chosen is apt to be easy or hard, right? Easy books contain lots of short paragraphs-- including dialogue paragraphs which may only be a word or two long--and lots of white space."

Stephen King, King on Writing, p. 123

Thinking about this, go back an look at your book. Is there a lot of white space? Is it easy to read? Do the paragraphs look overwhelming or friendly on the page???

Easy, right?

Powerful, yes.

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Craig Hardee said...

So true! I teach desktop publishing and web design to homeschooled middle and high schoolers, and that's something they get tired of me saying.

Their writing instructions tell them six to eight sentence paragraph, and then I tell them no more than 2 sentences, and make them short.

Unlike the previous ones. :)

Coming out of the cloak of lurkdom,
Craig Hardee

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

Another great tip Tricia. I actually was beginning to wonder if my paragraphs were too short...but I guess not! :)

Have a great day,

Tabitha said...

I have a hard time with paragraphs. I want to cram everything together.

Then when I realize I need to space it out, I'm not sure how to break it up. I try to go with the flow.

Stephen King's book was helpful and full of great advice.