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How do you choose what words and sentence structures to use for a given paragraph in a novel? Thank you for your help.


Hello Christopher:

In choosing what words to use in a paragraph, remember that the first purpose of words is to communicate meaning, hopefully in an interesting, imaginative way. The second purpose of words (grouped into phrases) is to set up an image in the reader's mind: "The girl's red skirt swirled around her legs as she danced." Words can also carry sensory information: "The pie smelled wonderful," convey commands: "Hand me that hammer," etc. Words have nuances and connotations.

As for sentence structure, this is a primary way that writing holds our attention. To read a paragraph where all the sentences are the same length is boring, and we soon get tired and put the work aside. Varied sentence structure is crucial to any kind of writing, if you want to be read. Try to vary your sentence structure as much as you can. If you want a good example, read Mark Twain.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 670 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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