Writing a paragraph for a magazine article is not as easy as experienced writers make it seem. Its content is clear. It is crisp and easy to read. A budding magazine journalist may discover that with practice, a combination of these five features makes it possible to write such a paragraph.
By MASEEENG PAPASHANE
1. Write about one main idea
Writing a paragraph with one main idea is the first pointer to write better articles. The main idea can be written in the first, second or even third sentence of the paragraph. This depends on two things; how soon you want to make the main point, and the style and tone of the publication for which you are writing.
If the main idea is written in the first sentence of every paragraph, readers can get the gist of the article simply by skim-reading those sentences. If it is written in the second or third sentence, it may follow descriptive detail or quotations that support it.
2. Include relevant supporting details
Supporting sentences make up the rest of the paragraph in addition to the main idea. They elaborate on the main idea whether it is written in the first, second or even third sentence of the paragraph. The following may be included as supporting details in a paragraph of a magazine article:
- story-telling and descriptions
- primary research facts and statistics
- quotations from experts
- paraphrased quotations from experts
3. Use varying sentence lengths
One of the ten ways to write better articles for magazines is to write a paragraph made up of sentences of assorted lengths. Some sentences should be short. Others should be long with descriptive details and story-telling to draw the reader in and clarify information in support of the main idea. The varying length of sentences in a paragraph sets its pace. The short ones add to its crispness. The long ones help move the paragraph along smoothly and delicately.
The most important thing to do when writing sentences for a paragraph is to find a balance between short and long sentences.
If the paragraph has too many short sentences, it has a fast pace. This tends to make readers feel like they are running from one point to the other. It leaves them breathless. On the flipside, too many long sentences may bore readers. They make a paragraph seem like a long and winding road along a desert highway to a destination that seems impossible to get to.
4. Write in plain language
One of the rules of magazine journalism is to write paragraphs using informal language. It should be simple so that anyone can understand it. The exception to the rule is when writing paragraphs in an article for specialist magazines where jargon is appropriate.
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5. Keep it short and to the point
A paragraph of a magazine article should be should be short and to the point if it’s for web writing; a magazine article can have longer paragraphs. Short sentences help hold the attention of readers, especially online readers, who have plenty of competing information to process while browsing an online magazine.
Paragraph writing for a magazine article is more than writing down ideas in a large chunk, separating that chunk from another chunk with a line in between. It is tricky. But it is also doable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maseeeng is a South African academic, online image consultant and freelance journalist. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her reading the works of Maya Angelou and Isabelle Allende; writing poetry; and binge watching The Blacklist and Killing Eve.