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Are paragraph spaces used for emphasis?


I am writing a story and I have these 3 sentences that elaborate on the ending of a first page. This way the reader will continue to read my story.

My question is, am I allowed to place paragraph spacing in between these sentences to create spacing?

Are there any other stories that do so? Is it correct or will it be a waste of space?

By spaces, I mean the following.

Sentence 1....

(Space here)

Sentence 2...

(Space here)

Sentence 3....

(Space here)
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4 answers


Offsetting a single sentence as it's own paragraph is one way to emphasize that sentence or idea, and yes, you will see this done in the books you read. It is a more common device in some genres and age ranges than others. Keep in mind that some writers, especially novices, use this device more heavily than maybe they should. Too much becomes exhausting to read, as though the author is saying "This is important!" "This too!" And this!"

Think of it like italics. You could italicize a word in every sentence for emphasis. Hopefully you agree this would be a bad idea, and that it would become visually annoying after about three instances. You'd probably even scan ahead and get the idea that the author really abused italics. Same with offsetting single sentences.

Use the tool sparingly.

^^See what I did there? That sentence could have been included in the previous paragraph. It carries more oomph by being offset. But now try to imagine every sentence in this answer as having its own paragraph. This page would appear to have about fifteen paragraphs--each a single sentence--and you'd start to wonder if I was soft in the head. So, the answer to your question is yes, but please read some of your favorite books to get a feel for how often to do this, and with which types of sentences. (Perhaps concluding sentences.)

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/40895. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.



The convention

In print

In print, paragraphs that are part of the same scene are set off of each other by paragraphs breaks alone. There is no extra white space between paragraphs:


In print, if there is additional white space between paragraphs, that white space means that the next paragraph belongs to another scene:



Online, all paragraphs are (or should be) separated by additional white space, as they are on this site, because that increases readability on computer monitors.

The following image shows that paragraphs on this site are not separated by multiple line breaks and an empty line, but only by a large margin:

Deviation from convention

Of course you can deviate from convention in your writing. But it is good to understand what the convention is and to deviate from it consciously.

If you know what white space between pagagraphs means conventionally, you can use this effect. For example, if you offset a single sentence from a preceding paragraph with additional whitespace in print, the reader will expect a change in time, place, or protagonist. If none of these happen, that is, if the offset paragraph clearly continues the situation from the preceding paragraph, the offset will cause the reader to search for an explanation for its unconventional placement.

What explanation the reader finds, lies outside of your influence. That is the allure of creative writing: that everyone can read into it what they want.

But be careful! If you deviate from convention once in one novel, the reader will likely find this intriguing. But if you disregard convention completely, the effect may be confusing and unattractive.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/40906. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.



"Am I allowed ..." No. If you do this, the Writing Police will come to your house, break down the door, and arrest you.

Seriously, what do you mean by "am I allowed"? Who is going to stop you and how?

The real question is, "Is this a good idea?"

There appear to be two issues here: 1. Should you put space between paragraphs? And 2. Should you make a sentence its own paragraph for emphasis.

The answer to #1 is a matter of formatting style. You have to do SOMETHING to show where new paragraphs begin. Sometimes people put space between paragraphs to separate them. Sometimes people indent the first line of each paragraph. Occasionally people put the paragraph symbol, ¶. The first two methods are used routinely and are understand by pretty much anybody who can read English, and are pretty much interchangeable. The only time it matters is if there is some other sort of formatting you are using that makes one or the other difficult to read. Like if you want to use some blank space to show breaks between sections, then also using it to separate paragraphs could make it unclear whether any given break is a section break or a paragraph break.

As to #2, emphasis, like any technique for emphasis, you should use this sparingly. If you are speaking quietly and suddenly you shout, it gets the listeners attention and lets them know that what you said so loudly is important or exciting (at least to you). But if you shout constantly, it's just annoying.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/40913. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.



It sounds like you want to make these 3 sentences memorable. You could end chapter 1 with those 3 sentences, with only slight emphasis like a paragraph break.
Then put those 3 sentences at the top of chapter 2, possibly in quotation marks. After all, you are quoting from the previous chapter. Other chapters could have nothing, or each one could have a quote from the previous chapter. The quote technique would be like a running start for each chapter.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/40920. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.