Overstuffing the paragraphs – Common Cybersecurity Writing Mistakes

November 19, 2019 posted by

– Let’s talk about mistake number two. Mistake number two that I’d
like to discuss with you is overstuffing your paragraphs. Take a look at what I mean. Look at this paragraph that
appears on your screen here. How excited are you by the
prospect of reading it? Do I dare ask you to read it? The reason why I bring this up is because this paragraph looks overwhelming. We don’t like content
that looks so uninviting. This looks like a lot of work. And we’re all busy, impatient readers. We don’t like having to digest large chunks of information like this. But maybe you have the patience
to review this paragraph, because I would like to
ask you how might you split this paragraph into smaller paragraphs? Give it some thought. Anticipate how your
reader would prefer to see content like this. Your readers want to see your ideas in easy to digest chunks. And the paragraph that you
saw on the previous screen was just too, too big, too uninviting. My hope is that you had a chance to look at that paragraph, and you realized that you can split it into
several smaller paragraphs. We’re not changing any
of the content there, we’re just breaking up that paragraph so that sentences that
are related to each other are in a single paragraph,
but we’re looking for several ideas that we can separate into their own, independent paragraphs. And in this case, I saw
an opportunity to split that long, uninviting paragraph
into three paragraphs. Now this content looks easier to read, and therefore your readers
are much more likely to actually bother reading it. Notice that by splitting the paragraph into three paragraphs, we
also have the opportunity to present to our readers three
independent topic sentences. Recognize that as readers,
we skim a lot of content and our eyes go from one
paragraph to the other and we look at the first
sentence in a given paragraph, or a portion of that sentence. So in a large paragraph
you only have your reader reviewing the first
sentence of that paragraph, in many cases. But now that we have several paragraphs, we’re much more likely to
have our readers review at least three sentences in this content. Here are some suggestions
for you, if you’re not sure how you can structure your
ideas into paragraphs. First, I suggest you
jot down your thoughts without worrying about the structure or your paragraph configuration. Just jot them down, get
’em on paper, type ’em up. Next, group your sentences into snippets that contain related ideas. Sentences that describe a discrete idea, you can group them into a paragraph. That’s the grouping that
the paragraph represents. Once you have such a grouping, it’s not quite a finished paragraph. Look at the sentences
that comprise your draft of the paragraph, and
make sure that you bring to the front of the paragraph
the sentence that summarizes the contents of that
paragraph, the key idea. That’s what your readers
want to see up front, that is what you will
present as the topic sentence in the beginning of that paragraph.

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