An online devotional for writers
Mark off a boundary. (Exodus 19:12, NLT)
A topic sentence expresses a key idea of a paragraph or a section of content.
It used to be (at least in academic essays) that writers adhered to The Paragraph Law: a paragraph contained a minimum of three sentences, up to five or six, but no more than that. And each paragraph needed a topic sentence.
Content writing has changed that. These days, paragraphs skirt the hard-and-fast rule about length. Online writing means readers skim, which leads to lots of white space and shorter paragraphs.
Therein lies a challenge for today’s conversational writers. Without all those well-meaning rules, how should you structure your content for clarity?
A topic sentence is still an essential tool. Think of it as a boundary. Use it to define sections. Then unpack the idea from your topic sentence in short paragraphs that make up a section.
A good example is Romans 8:18: “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (NLT).
Paul uses the rest of the chapter to describe a bit of what that glory will look like (8:19-25) … the present help we get from the Holy Spirit while we wait for that glory (8:26-27) … the work God does in us while we are here on earth, in preparing for that glory (8:28-39).
Paul wrote his letter to the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, without the use of today’s paragraphs. And he used a topic sentence to define a section of content.
If he did so, can’t you? Plus when you use a topic sentence to mark boundaries, it’s easier to write content, too.
Use a topic sentence to define a section of content.
Hard-and-fast” writing rules are not hard-and-fast with you. Help me to focus on defining sections of my content to communicate clearly.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
More Devotionals for Writers
Get more devotionals for writers delivered to your inbox each week:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"