If you have read my ‘About’ page, you will know that I like to keep my blog postings short.
They are not always that short, as I sometimes realise the point I am trying to make needs an extra paragraph or three to do it full justice (or maybe I just haven’t mastered the true art of concision). But whatever the length, I carry around in my head that commandment of good and effective writing: keep your paragraphs short.
In the book I’m reading at the moment, The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, film critic Mark Kermode ignores this ‘rule’ and ploughs on and on without, it seems, pressing the ENTER button on his keyboard. Yet it doesn’t seem to matter: I find myself racing through each lengthy block of text, negotiating his digressions and bracketed asides like a seasoned hurdler. This is because he has an interesting tale to tell, or opinion to air, and I am eager to find out how it concludes. I read his long paragraphs a good deal faster than I read most moderately sized offerings of other writers.
It takes confidence to write in a style that sweeps up the reader. I’m not making any great claims for Mark Kermode’s literary abilities, but he knows his material (the cinema) and, as an established name, knows that the reader is ready to feast on whatever he puts on the plate in front of them.