End Paragraphs With a Meaningful Punch

image by maxlkt

“Your goal is to entice your reader to read the next paragraph. The worst way for your reader to leave each paragraph is reading a vague word, such as his, it, with, there, or was. These words leave the reader with no gist of the paragraph’s meaning or how he should feel as he starts the next paragraph. A paragraph backloaded with an evocative word excites readers subconsciously to move forward in the story.” Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days by Zoe M. McCarthy (releasing in 2018)

See if you can revise and end the example paragraphs with a meaningful word.

Paragraphs With Weak Endings 

1. Jack was never home. Liza’s friends had their own lives. They couldn’t babysit her every day of the week. Jack needed to find another job, one in which he could be with her.

image by the fss

2. Graham entered Grandmother’s dark room. Why hadn’t Daisy opened the curtains this morning? He took several steps closer to the bed. Grandmother lay on her back with her hands folded over her chest. Her face looked gray. Oh heavens. Death had come for Grandmother, and she no longer was.

3. Mona spied Aunt Saundra’s emerald ring on the table. The diamonds surrounding the emerald sparkled in the sunlight shining through the window. If she scooped the ring into her purse, and only wore it in the city, no one would ever know she took it.

4. Cecelia abhorred gardening. Oh, she enjoyed the beauty of the flowerbeds and the arrangements of cut flowers in vases inside. But the sun drilling into her back, the sweat pouring from her body, and the blisters on her hands were too much to ask.

The Gist of the Paragraphs

Paragraph 1 is about Liza being left alone. Her leaves us dry.

Paragraph 2 is about discovering Grandmother’s death. Was means existing.

Paragraph 3 is about Mona’s stealing. We’re sent away with boring it.

Paragraph 4 is about Cecelia’s belief that gardening benefits aren’t worth the pains. Ask suggests a question.

Improved Backloaded Paragraphs

image by StockSnap

1. Jack was never home. Liza’s friends had their own lives. They couldn’t babysit her every day of the week. Jack needed to find another job whose evening and weekend requirements never left her alone.

2. Graham entered Grandmother’s dark room. Why hadn’t Daisy opened the curtains this morning? He took several steps closer to the bed. Grandmother lay on her back with her hands folded over her chest. Her face looked gray. Oh heavens. Grandmother was dead.

3. Mona spied Aunt Saundra’s ring on the table. The diamonds surrounding the emerald sparkled in the sunlight shining through the window. If she scooped the ring into her purse and wore it only in the city, no one would ever know she was the thief.

4. Cecelia abhorred gardening. Oh, she enjoyed the beauty of the flowerbeds and the arrangements of cut flowers in vases inside. But she hated the sun drilling into her back, the sweat pouring from her body, and the blisters on her hands. The beauty wasn’t worth the suffering.

An exercise to end paragraphs with words that lure readers to the next paragraph. Click to tweet.

I invite you to include your ending words in the comments.

4 thoughts on “End Paragraphs With a Meaningful Punch

  1. Thank you for this information. 🙂

     
     
    1. You are most welcome, Mimi. I hope your paragraphs are more powerful.

       
       
  2. marilyn leach

    There’s lots of teaching on how to end a chapter. But, this is the first I’ve seen of how to have a strong ending to a paragraph. Thank you. Cheers

     
     
    1. Marilyn, learning about backloading sentences, paragraphs, and scenes was one of my favorite ah-ha moments.

       
       

Comments are closed.