Paragraph Writing: The three basic steps to writing a good paragraph
Every paragraph has three basic components. Each of these components comprises a segment of the whole, just as they do in all basic forms of writing. The fundamental steps to ensuring your paragraph is properly constructed require a well-written introduction, body and a conclusion. While this might be breaking paragraph writing down to its most elemental form, and yet it is necessary to get each of these steps right in order for your work to flow.
The first step, the introduction, is very much what it sounds like. It is an introduction to what you’re writing about in that paragraph. Too often, especially when writing long pieces that have many paragraphs, we think we need to reintroduce the subject or, worse yet, that we can skip an introduction altogether. Though it does not need to be as succinct or detailed as the introduction in your introductory paragraph (another topic entirely) it does need to let your reader know what’s going to happen now. It is an essential tool in ensuring continuity in the overall work.
The body of the paragraph is the information or ideas you wish to convey. They need to follow your introduction and be revealed in logical sequence. It is essential that you don’t jump all over the place in the body of a paragraph. If you need to change directions or add an extra item, then do use thoughtfully worded transitions in order to keep your work cohesive. The body of the paragraph, after all, is the meat of your work. Flesh it out but don’t let it bulge at the seams. Keep it to the point and on track with your outline.
Finally, use your concluding sentence, or series of sentences, to finish off this particular fragment of subject matter and still, unless it is your concluding paragraph, do let it segue your reader into the next bit of information you’re going to impart. In other words, allow your concluding sentence in this paragraph to open the door that leads into the introductory statement of your next paragraph.
Basic writing skills build from words, to phrases, to sentences, to paragraphs, to bigger and longer compositions. Once you have mastered a well-constructed paragraph, then you are ready to move from simple writing exercises to really writing. Just keep these steps in mind as you work and your work will have the right continuity and flow to keep your reader’s interest.