I told Sara that trying to wrangle an unruly paragraph is exactly like herding cats—you want it to go in a certain direction and it wants to go in another. Right now I have a problem paragraph that refuses to let me control it.
So what should I do? Let it sit for a day or two? Keep forcing it? Resort to violence if necessary? These are the steps I use to try and control wild paragraphs.
- Does it do what I want it to?
- Is there sloppy language?
- Is it confusing to readers? Why?
- Does it make sense in context to the scene?
- Is there a better way to say what I want to say?
If the answer to the last question is yes, then I try a rewrite. If the rewrite is better I may use it or try and merge it with the problem paragraph. But sometimes you have to cut it altogether—drive all the cats off a cliff and start over with dogs—so to speak J.