How to Write Torturous Sentences and Paragraphs
No, not like this. Not like this... please... no... uggagahaahawaahhh!!
A while ago, I saw someone claim you can't make a paragraph too short.
Not as in you shouldn't, but that it's literally impossible to do.
Readers prefer short paragraphs, in fact!
The shorter the better!
Some even argue you should have only one sentence per paragraph.
Is it just me or is this really annoying?
Like, I don't want to scroll any more than I already do.
And it's just so disjointed?
How am I supposed to make a cohesive argument when my points are literally not connected?
Also, I'm not a baby. I can read. Oops, this one's too long. Are you still here? Did I lose you?
People won’t stop banging on about how we have zero attention span these days.
Nobody reads *words* any more, ugh, disgusting, are you kidding?
But hey, maybe you’re just not saying anything worth paying attention to.
Ever think of that?
Oh, that reminds me, I also saw someone claim the perfect number of words for a sentence is four. FOUR. I don't even know. What I would say. In only four words. How is this good? That's right, it isn't. Okay, it's not bad. But only because... me. Sigh. I almost had it. Oh, there we go. Maybe this is fine. Shall I keep going? Whose brain melts first? Mine, or maybe yours? It'll be mine, probably. Has it already happened? Let's just stop this. It is too dangerous. Look at that phrasing. Yikes, it is bad.
Imagine if all your sentences were four words. It’s the literary equivalent of Chinese water torture, or that one neighbour who plays their music so goddamn loud but all you can hear through the walls is the bassline, which, now that I think about it, is the modern equivalent of Chinese water torture. Like, damn, don’t just give me a beat, ya know? Give me rhythm. Give me melody. Maybe even give me lyrics. Give me something to feel, or at least think about. And you know what? Give me some space, too. Room to breathe. I don’t want this incessant onslaught of trivial nonsense. No one does.
I used to read a blog where the writer did the one-line-paragraph thing. He still does it now, I just don’t read it any more. I’m not gonna call him out because he’s a nice guy, but geez. Give your writing a little vitality, would ya? A lil pizzazz, a handful of oomph. Don’t worry so much about scaring people away with all your words, man! Maybe that’s not what’s happening, I have no idea. Maybe he just doesn’t really enjoy writing. Anyway.
I dunno about you, but if I see an article that’s written solely in short, one-sentence paragraphs, I’m gonna assume it’s vapid, shallow, low-effort garbage. That’s not to say it necessarily is, but, well, it probably is. Like, sure, short paragraphs can be punchy and impactful, but not when you use them every single time. Do that and you’ll end up in the void where your words become lifeless and empty, also known as a digital marketing specialist’s office1. Personally, I’d rather listen to someone who has something to say and isn’t publishing purely to appease the almighty algorithm, lord and saviour of our SEO.
So, listen to me.
More than four words.
Sometimes four is okay.
But definitely not always.
Trust me on this.
Longer paragraphs are fine.
Maybe even good, actually.
And trust your readers.
Give them some credit.
They are not babies.
Give them respect, too.
You say something worthwhile, okay?
This obviously does not apply to my wonderful and talented marketing clients, who have fine taste and judgement in all things, especially writers.