This blog post is the first in the series on the different ways to write powerful paragraphs, inspired by Victor Pellgrino’s book “A writer’s guide to powerful paragraphs”.
According to Victor Pelligrino, a paragraph is a unit of thought that expresses a single idea, communicated through related sentences. And although there are many ways to create powerful paragraphs, you must — first and foremost — identify your topic: “A topic sentence is the most important sentence in a paragraph. Sometimes referred to as a focus sentence, the topic sentence helps organize the paragraph by summarizing the information in the paragraph”
Put another way, the topic sentence is generally what your “paragraph is about.” That’s it.
After identifying the main topic, your main goal is to fully develop that topic. You’ll want to anticipate your reader’s questions and answer them. And if, along the way, you discover your paragraph fails to satisfy those questions, then perhaps you need to better understand your subject: Take a step back from the actual writing and pivot. Do some research.
But most importantly, throughout the writing process, constantly keep the reader at the center of your mind. Ask yourself, “Who am I writing for … what do they know…. what do they NOT know”. Think about what assumptions you are making about your reader; more often than not, we assume too much of our reader and lose them along the way. We fail to fill in the missing gaps and we fail to logically link our thoughts, failing to use transitional phrases (or sentences).
In summary, you’ll want to identify your topic, provide descriptions, arguments and examples (maybe one, perhaps two, sometimes even three).