Writing Masterclass: Paragraphs (Strategy 4 in the Writing Masterclass Series) | Rachel Leroy | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Writing Masterclass: Paragraphs (Strategy 4 in the Writing Masterclass Series)

teacher avatar Rachel Leroy, Stop Striving and Start Thriving

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction (Please note the whole series is broken down by one Strategy per course, not two strate

    • 2. Introduction and Writing Paragraphs: Introductions Strategy 4 Technique 1

    • 3. Writing Paragraphs: Conclusions Strategy 4 Technique 2

    • 4. Writing Paragraphs: Signposts for Organization Strategy 4 Technique 3

    • 5. Writing Paragraphs: Paragraph Lengths Strategy 4 Technique 4

    • 6. ClosingThoughts

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

 If you enjoyed this course, please like it and share with others. Honest reviews are welcome and appreciated. 

In this course you will learn to hone your style and craft in the fundamentals of effective writing.

  • Practice effective word usage and economy
  • Implement proactive sentence structure
  • Utilize effective word order and sentence flow
  • Create strong intros, conclusions, paragraph order, and variety
  • Strategize your purpose and unity with maximum effect
  • Convince your reader through strong logic and presentation
  • Understand what attitudes will give you an edge in your writing
  • Practice effective habits that will help you create the writing quality you desire

This course is intended to be part of the series, Writing Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Mastery. "Writing Paragraphs" is Strategy 4 of this series:

Strategy 1, Writing Words

Strategy 2, Writing Sentences

Strategy 3 Writing Structures

Strategy 4, Writing Paragraphs

Strategy 5, Writing Purpose

Strategy 6, Writing Presentaiton

Strategy 7, Writing Attitudes

Strategy 8 Writing Habits

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Rachel Leroy

Stop Striving and Start Thriving


Rachel Leroy BA, MA, MFA

Writing Professor and Personal Growth Teacher


As a teacher and lifelong learner, I'm excited to engage my creativity and expertise to help students and other learners engage in empowering learning experiences that will help them succeed in their careers, education, and lives. With thirteen years experience as an Assistant Professor in English, writing, and composition at Georgia Southern University, I have acquired experience teaching writing and composition, creative writing, critical thinking and logic, online learning, research methods, first year college experience, student-centered learning, editing, grammar, and literature.

How I Relate to Students--Stop Striving and

Start Thriving

I know what it's lik... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction (Please note the whole series is broken down by one Strategy per course, not two strate: hello and welcome to writing that sales techniques that transform your writing. This course offers you an opportunity to improve your riding style through specific techniques that you can apply right away to your writing process. Now this isn't a course on how to sell your riding directly, but it's a course on how to improve your riding style itself, which will increase the chances that you're riding will sell itself. In addition to specific marketing strategies that you may use, the course covers different sections of the writing process and nuts and bolts techniques on how to improve your writing process and your riding style. It covers all the way from the word level, all the way to global issues, all the way to habits and attitudes. The course is set up into four sections, one section on words and sentences, so it starts with words and then builds into sentences. Then there's another section on paragraphs and structures, and so it's scaffold and build into paragraphs in structures in terms of larger chunks of the writing process. And then it goes into purpose and presentation, which is looking more at global ideas, combining paragraphs and combining host structures of your piece to see what it looks like as a whole, and then stepping back from your writing pieces individually and looking at them as a group . You will also have a section on habits and attitudes that can help maximize your writing process, help you to improve your riding style and help you to increase the chances of succeeding in your goals as a writer. Now, this course is for anybody who wants to improve the writing style. It's targeted more for beginners, but it could also be useful for intermediate riders. Whether you're a business writer, a creative writer, someone who writes poems, short stories, poetry, someone who blocks someone who writes academically. Whatever the case, maybe there's a little bit of something for everyone in this course. If you're an advanced writer, you may find things that will help you here. But this is more, of course, for in intermediate and beginning writers, the goal of this course and what it will do for you, this course. Like I said, we'll help you to improve yourself as a writer in a way that will be techniques that you can apply practically and specifically and, um, each course section. Like I said, it's set up into two strategies per section. There's eight strategies total several techniques per strategy and each technique. For most of them. There is an explanation. First a rule and then an explanation, a demonstration or an example and then an application of it in some way so that you can put it into practice right away. The example helps you to see that particular technique in practice, and then the exercise and or the quiz at the end of each particular strategy will actually help you to apply that technique so you know how to use it in your own riding, and you can apply it right away. Keep in mind that none of these techniques are necessarily catch alls. For example, if we say use active voice, that doesn't mean that you use active voice 100% of the time. So keep in mind that these techniques are not all out rules, even though that word may be used on occasion to describe these techniques. So if there's a case where active voice is not appropriate or it doesn't flow, well, then don't use it. So this is like I said, Each technique is not a catch all but a general rule of thumb. In each situation, you'll need to look at the context of the situation to see what's most appropriate, like anything, for example, a musician. First, you have to learn the rules before you can break them, and then once you understand the nature of them, that's when breaking them becomes appropriate because you understand the context of a situation. So keep that in mind as well. Um, but this course is unique because it covers a wider range of techniques than some of the similar courses that air included on this side and similar sites because it includes a wider range of techniques in many cases, and also it covers habits and attitudes. I think it's important not just a look at the Senate's level and the word level, the paragraph level and the whole work level. But to stand back and look at your works as a whole and look at patterns in your own riding style and patterns in your habits that influence those techniques, and so we'll talk about and cover that as well. The course is set up in terms of each of the sections in each of the techniques in each of the strategies. For each section, there will be two videos with talking over slide shows, so they'll be to slide shows per section, and there will be a talking head video over each one that will guide you through that process. At the end of that talking head video or slide show, there will be either a quiz or a some kind of technique or exercise to apply to that. In some cases, there may be both, but in most cases it will be either one or the other, depending on which is more appropriate in that situation. So let's go ahead and get started and welcome to the course writing that sales techniques that will transform your writing. 2. Introduction and Writing Paragraphs: Introductions Strategy 4 Technique 1 : hi and welcome to strategy for paragraphs. This strategy has four techniques, and it covers paragraphs in terms of how to organize them and how to set them up and what they should emphasize and how they should function. Um, organized paragraph with clear plans and subheadings. Now it may seem like common sense, but there are some specific techniques here that can really help you in terms of your organization in terms of your paragraph structure, in terms of deciding how long to make a paragraph, what to put in it, how to unify it and where to break your paragraph. That's often a question that I get for my students a lot. Where do I break my paragraphs? And that's a good question, and we'll talk about that strategy. For though the explanation. Each paragraph should have a specific goal and or key idea, and it's form should fit its function. Each paragraph should have a specific goal or key idea, and it's form should fit its function technique. One years on in Trump's introductions to pieces. Now I know, you know, in terms of informal riding, it might be a little different and infection it might be different than say in nonfiction. In academic writing, it might be a little bit different than saying creative nonfiction or blogging and so adapt this as the need goes. You know you're genre and you know your motive riding better than you. No, you know what you need to say, but these still apply in most situations and can be adapted. Intro should get the reader's attention immediately, and they should give the reader a sense of what the piece is about. So you want to do two things in the interview. When I get the reader's attention, I use a little humor here with my students, and I'll tell him you want to show just a little bit of leg where they're like E. I wonder if Seymour of that, But you want to leave enough to the imagination that they want to read more, so I'll tell them. Make your interest sexy. Hook the reader have something that gets their attention, and there are several things that you can do there to do. That, um, an anecdote. A startling statistic. Ah, human example. Some kind of human story, something that has more of an emotional appeal to the reader or give them a clear mental image of something that you want them to think about throughout the piece. There's your things that will hook the reader, or maybe something stranger unusual as long as this legitimate toe What you're trying to say. You don't want to use cheap ploys here, but using something to hook the reader is definitely effective. Also, you want to give the reader a clear sense of where the piece is going. What is it about, Especially when you're writing essays and nonfiction pieces. You don't want to give everything away once again, but in some cases you'll have a thesis and some occasional cases. You'll have an implied theme, but you want. You don't want to talk about one thing in the interim and then talk about something entirely different in the body paragraphs. You do want there to be unity from your intro, and it should be clear as it goes into the body paragraphs where you're going. It doesn't have to be predictable, but it needs to be unified and clear. And so part of that technique is like I said, get their attention immediately, show them a little leg. But leave something to the imagination and also give them a clear sense of where you're going with the peace on any sample. This late sparks the reader's curiosity and gives her a sense of character setting in situations. So this sexually apiece beginning of what could be a piece of fiction. In January 1966 Darius Johnson stood at the snowy edge of the Casino Royale roof, wishing his mother had put him in the car that day. So that piece is a good hook. You're like, What the heck is going on? Why is it snowing in Las Vegas? Why is he standing at the edge of a building? Why's that The Casino Royale? Why does he seem to be wanting to jump? And what the heck does that have to do with his mother not putting him in the car years ago ? And so that leaves a lot of questions, but it also intrigues the reader, so it gives the reader some sense of setting of what's going on in the future paragraphs. But it also hooks the reader so they want to continue. It leaves enough mystery that it doesn't give everything away, um, example to these examples of vote a genuine response, for better or worse from the reader, and they give her a sense of character, place and situation. And so these air something, this beginnings of entire novels or works, fiction or nonfiction. Um, here is one by Vladimir Nabokov and it's Lolita, a very famous novel, and many critics say it's the best novel written of all time and probably the best novel written in the 20th century. And here's the beginning, Lolita, Light of My Life, Fire of My Loins, My sin, my soul that would just grips you. And you just want to know more. You get a sense of where the plots going, and you also get a sense of wanting to read Mawr. There, it hooks you immediately. Another one in the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. You can't get more straightforward than that, and that's from the Bible. And then you have this one. Charles Howard had the feeling of a gigantic, onrushing machine. You had to either climb on or leap out of the way. You get immediate characterization. You get an immediate sense of one of the main characters, and that is from Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, and that is one of my favorite works of all time. The writing is beautiful if you want to see a piece of nonfiction that it's so engaging in so consuming that it's like reading a a fiction piece with the same kind of technique. I highly encourage you to re Laura Hillenbrand. She is amazing, and Seabiscuit is an amazing piece of nonfiction. But those were all three beginnings that in some way hook the reader. But they also adapt to their unique genre and situation, and they also give the reader a sense of where the entire work is going. And if you're familiar with those works, you can see what I'm saying there. So that is strategy for technique one and that is intro should get the reader's attention immediately, and it should be a little sexy. And it should also give the reader a sense of what the piece is about. 3. Writing Paragraphs: Conclusions Strategy 4 Technique 2: Welcome back. This is strategy for technique to, and this is in paragraphs and technique to states, and this is about conclusions or endings. We were just talking about intros, so conclusions usually circle back to the instruments of way. The intro will introduce a concept, a question, an idea and anecdote, a story or something that leaves a question for the reader, and it goes full circle through the entire work. It covers all the details and all the events, and then it comes back in some way and answers back to the intro without being repetitive. But it comes back full circle that here's technique to the perfect ending should take your readers by surprise, yet seen exactly right. And that's William's interest. And that's what he says about conclusions. A conclusion, maybe one paragraph in some cases that maybe one sentence and in maybe multiple paragraphs , depending on the length of your work and the genre. The explanation closing should in with an appropriate story example seen anecdote called action, etcetera, depending on the situation that brings ideas full circle, perhaps with an echo of the beginning. And so an example here that works Well, um, we get an echo of the beginning. Let's think back to the ones you might even want to look at that video again. Or look at the slide show again from the last technique where we talked about Darius Johnson. And then we went through the examples of intros in the Bible, Lolita and Seabiscuit. And so we're going to continue by looking at the conclusions that answer back to these in the same works. And this is the one about dairies Johnson on the Casino Royale roof. And so this is a potential conclusion or closing statement that answers back to that beginning statement. Darius, his mother, stood by the car, her eyes bearing into Hiss. She put her hands on his shoulders wishing she didn't have to let go. And so that answers back. We may not know what happened in the middle, but we get a sense that it doesnt scare back there. Um, and then other examples. Here are the endings of the same works, from technique to, um, they give a hint of the beginning and seemed to end just right. So they do those two things. They give a hint at the beginning that in just write a little mysteriously, but it's steel works. Um, I am the Alfa and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Bible. And so it started. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And so it seems appropriate that it emphasizes the creator again here at the end in the Bible. And then here is one from the Lolita, Um, novel. Vladimir Nabokov. I am thinking of our X and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic signs, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, Milo Leader. So that's about forbidden love. And if that's what you want to call it, But it's it's emphasizing what was at the beginning, some kind of forbidden passion or lust or love, depending on how you want to look at it. And then the last one was from Seabiscuit, and we get a sense of one character at the beginning, and there's a mood there of aggression and optimism. And then at the end, there's this quietness, and that's kind of the tone the book takes throughout the piece, and it ends with a different character, but it kind of answers back to the mood and the tone. In the intro. The air carried a hush sound of stirring Strong, and the horses shook the sleep from their bodies in the darkness. They didn't see Smith coming, but they knew he was there. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. And that's the last lines of Seabiscuit. And that is Smith, the trainer of The Horse Is He's the Whisperer that was able to bring Seabiscuit back from Hopeless is, and it's symbolic of all the characters in Seabiscuit as well, without creating too many spoilers. So that is technique to, and that is basically to make sure that endings should, um, basically clarify what's going on in the intro or answer back to it in some way and leave some kind of hint of mystery, but seemed just right. And that's what this particular technique should do. And I will see you in the next technique 4. Writing Paragraphs: Signposts for Organization Strategy 4 Technique 3: Hello and welcome to technique. Three of strategy. Four Paragraphs. Technique. Three Builds on the 1st 2 The 1st 1 was on intros, and the 2nd 1 was on conclusions and how to build those and what to put in them. And now, technique three is more through the body of a work, a fiction, nonfiction, poetry or whatever the case may be on. And that is to use sign posts to clarify the organization of your work. Used Sign posts to clarify the organization of your work. The explanation here is to use headings, subheadings and topic sentences to clarify organization for readers. For yourself, use outlines, informal plans, storyboards, an idea maps to clarify organization. And so it's different, depending on if you're talking about behind the scenes or in terms of four year reader. But if you have a longer work, I strongly encourage you to use subheadings. They give a reader a sense of each section. It makes it easier to read. It, breaks it down and clarifies it for you and for the Raider. And they know how every piece into relates in sort of a sequence or a narrative that ties together in the larger scope of the work. So please you sign post to clarify the organization of your work because it's very helpful for your readers and example of that, and this is harder to really have, like an actual example from work. But, um, something you can do is write a draft and then work from an outline from the draft. After that, that makes thing counterintuitive, but it can help you identify corrections. You need to make the organization what gaps are missing in the ideas here. Once you have a draft, if you do an outline, you'll see what's missing because it's not there yet. And then you know what to add in and where to feeling in those gaps. It allows you steal the discovery process to info through the writing, but it gives you a process to know what gaps are missing, and you can anthros an example. Another technique. Within this overall technique, you can work from a more general plan and create subheadings for sections and longer works . Those might be subheadings to a biography, for example, in a biography could be, Ah, a book or something shorter than a book. Such markers those sign posts sections and create narrative continuum. And if you look at the example on the slide show, here are sections that you might have say in a 30 page biography that's not a full book. But maybe it's a piece of creative nonfiction. Or it's an essay or something like that. Small beginnings on a Georgia farm that might be the person's childhood, the age of rebellion that might be sort of an archetypal beginning of the journey, where they start to rebel against their background and start to try to find their own identity in a new town. So it progresses the narrative further into their life in the wilderness. Maybe that's the time of hardship, the time of of, of transition, of coming home and then returning to the red clay. That could be the end of their life. But it could also be symbolic of death. And so you get a sense of a narrative thread there, a continuum that it also sign posts different phases in the person's life, and it creates an organizational structure that's easy to follow. So it does two things it clarifies for the reader. The different phases in the writing piece but it also gives you an organizational structure , and thirdly, it also gives you a narrative thread that you can follow. And so that's technique three and strategy for paragraphs. And that is to use sun posts for sections in larger works to clarify the organization of your work, use sign posts. 5. Writing Paragraphs: Paragraph Lengths Strategy 4 Technique 4: Good afternoon and welcome to strategy. Four Paragraphs technique for, um, Technique. Four continues on organization. We started with intros, and then we went to conclusions What you want to put in those? How do you want to do those and emphasize those? And then we talked about overall organization and how to structure pieces to give them some clarity. Some flow some structure, and for this one it is also about paragraphs themselves, and it states very paragraph links for pace and float Sound familiar is very similar to very senate structures for pace and float. Have a natural organic variation of different kinds in order to make it have a nice lyrical flow. Make it easy to follow. Have the shorter paragraphs for emphasis, just like the shorter sentences for emphasis. If you want something to be terse, if you want to emphasize it, if you want it to pop. If you wanted to have emotional effect, make sure you use a shorter paragraphs and use a longer paragraph for ideas that are more complex ideas that build on themselves more and maybe ideas that have more mellow, mellow type of motions in them. In many cases and less emphasis, but more of a in some cases, a meandering flow but not boring in that sense, but just things that are more complex. Very paragraph links create an organic flow of ideas. Likewise, allow form to fit function for longer and slower situations. Use long paragraphs for urgency and emphasis. You shorter paragraphs. All ideas in a paragraph should be on the same main idea and flow logically. So all paragraphs should within one paragraph you wanna have one main idea. Now that main idea. Make flow through two or three paragraphs before you finish that point. But you still wanna have one unified May 90 f in each paragraph, and we then each paragraph. I mean among all the paragraphs. You also want them to flow logically. Don't forget about transitions. Topic sentences and transitions are important, whether it is a transitional phrase like moreover, so on next, however, and also a transitional thought that looks backwards at the paragraph before it, and Ford's at the next paragraph to create seamless ideal links. So think about how you want to leave the reader from that break in that idea to the next one. When you're transitioning paragraphs don't overuse longer short paragraphs but create paragraph breaks that increase effect. So that is another thing to think about. An example here here's an example of a short paragraph that works. There was no way to clear her name if that stood on its own, it would be a shock moment for the reader, whether you're following someone's biography or a newspaper article on someone, something that happened to her or if there were, if it were a longer piece of fiction. If you had been following all these advance in these longer paragraphs and then suddenly it stopped and you started a new pair reference it, there was no way to clear her name. It would just stand out and it would jump out. And that's the point of a short paragraph. This stands alone, emphasizes the point and builds urgency. Longer paragraphs would encapsulate groups of ideas within a larger concept and build a slower narrative voice. And so, since there's your longer, I would include one. But you can see lots of examples of those. If you look at fiction nonfiction, any kind of effective writing, you should see a natural flow and variety, and within that you want to see that paragraph links have a specific function for the form or for the emphasis that they're trying to create. And so the last technique in this strategy pair strategy four paragraphs is two very paragraph links for pace and flow. And remember that strategy? Four waas too. Pardon me. It was basically you want to make sure that paragraph links very for form and function, and interesting conclusions should also fit their form and function and do what they need to do. And that is the end of strategy. For I hope you've enjoyed the first half of the course, and I will see you in the next section. 6. ClosingThoughts: Hello, my dear students, I want to thank you for taking this course in the series on riding master class and at the end of each of thes courses in the Siri's Ah, large portion of them will have an exercise and you'll see that in the documents section of the course is some of them may not, but many of them wheel if he would. I encourage you to do the exercises, take the quizzes and put your results to the exercises in the project area of the course that allows us to see what you're doing. I can give you feedback on your exercises so that you can see how you're doing in terms of mastering the class concepts and also includes some edited pieces that you have done or riding pieces that you have done based on the class. Police put those in the project section so we can see, and I can see the wonderful things that you're doing to improve your riding so you can see real results occur. And also, if you wouldn't mind if you have enjoyed the course. If you've gotten something from the course, police check the box that says I would recommend. This course will probably see it at the top of your screen or somewhere popped up on your screen near the end in the last lecture of the course. If you would do that, I greatly appreciate it. And police leave an honest review so that it will allow me to help you and to make better courses for other students in the future. Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to seeing you there. And also, if you have questions, police post them in the discussion area. I love to talk about riding. I love to help you with your riding. And while I don't have time to give full critiques on rotting, I will be more than glad to comment on your responses to the questions there that are exercises in the course. So if you have any questions in general police, feel free to write right me and reach out to me as well. You can also find my contact information in my faculty profile, and I look forward to getting to know you have a great day