Thursday, August 20, 2015

White Space

Have you ever read a book where two paragraphs comprise an entire page? Yeah, me too. And I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see that. I don’t cringe because it’s “wrong.” I don’t look at it and think, “Geez, the author should have known better.” My reaction is nothing as black and white as that.

I cringe because the page looks daunting.

Yes, as you may have guessed (ya know, assuming you haven’t already read the title), I’m talking about white space. Beautiful, blessed white space. What is this elusive white space? Ahh...allow me to show you.

The following well-crafted series of sentences do not contain a lot of white space.

This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. 

I know. I have such a way with (the same four) words.

Joking aside, doesn’t that visually overwhelm you? It’s a big blob of condensed text jammed into one spot. I don’t know about you, but that just hurt my eyes.

Now contrast that paragraph with the following ones. And mind you, these two sections each have the exact same number of sentences. I just hit copy and paste and then manually added some paragraphs to give the bulky prose (and I use the word very loosely, LOL) some white space.
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence.  
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. 
“This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence.” 
“This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence.” 
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence. This is a sentence.
Ahhh...much better, don’t you agree?

Don’t be afraid to use white space to your advantage. It’s okay to have only one sentence in a paragraph. Yes, it really is (despite the fact my high school English teacher is screaming profanities in my head as I tell you this). Not every paragraph can have only one sentence because too much white space is just as daunting as no white space. Don’t believe me. See for yourself.
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
This is a sentence. 
 And that’s not even the entire first paragraph of the previous section. Yeah...yikes.

As a good rule of thumb, whenever there is new action in your story, add a new paragraph. Whenever there is a new speaker in dialogue, add a new paragraph. Whenever you take a turn in a different direction, yeah, you guessed it...add a new paragraph.

Editing  |  Promo  |  Links  |  Tech

More content added daily.