I am a champion of short paragraphs in blog posts and using subheads because people skim when reading content on the web.
Imagine how interested I was to read a post from the blog of Anne R. Allen entitled “How To Write For the 21st Century Reader: 6 Tips to Modernize Your Prose.” The post puts forward the theory that people also skim novels — and that we authors have to take this into account.
To begin with, this sentence from the blog post is ditto for me: “Personally, I’m a slow reader who savors every word.” In fact, I’ll even immediately re-read a sentence that I particularly like.
Thus it never occurred to me that people reading novels — not blog posts — might actually skim through the book.
Having now realized this may be true, I am beginning to understand why sometimes my books get reviews on Amazon commenting that the readers could not easily follow the characters. I mean, if a reader is SKIMMING, there is little wonder that not everything might be clear!
This post so resonated with me that I have decided to stop worrying if the chapters in my dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE on Wattpad and my Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY on Wattpad are too short.
According to this blog post, writing very short chapters is the modus operandi of the wildly popular author James Patterson.
And, hey, if it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me, especially if it increases ease of reading of what I write.
On the other hand, one of the six tips — to break up paragraphs — I do in my novel writing as well as my blog post writing. The effectiveness of this is vividly described in an example for another tip from the post — “unbury your dialogue.”
I highly recommend you click here to read the entire post now — it is well worth reading carefully rather than skimming!
© 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY.
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