Writing is a tall order for some people. Organizing points and making them stand out is a skill that should be learnt. Beating around the bush while writing makes a writer come off as unknowledgeable, and this easily gets the reader uninterested in the material. This article discusses 10 ways to help you deal with this. By the end of the article, you should have learnt how to develop a point in a paragraph. In a previous article, I discussed the topic of concision, and I hope you have been applying it to your writing.
One way to make a point in a paragraph is to rephrase it in various ways. This means that you can make the point repeatedly. The thing to do is to phrase it a little differently each time. Try using synonyms, key words, and related thoughts in expressing one thought. An example is, ‘She has tons of stuff to throw away.’ It can, however, be rephrased to ‘She needs to dispose a lot of junk.’ ‘His mother is colluding with his father’ can be further rephrased as ‘His mother and father are conspiring.’
A second way to make a point is to give illustrations. An illustration makes something clearer and more visible; it is a sibling of restatement. Illustrations are examples, attractive pictures, diagrams, or actions that help make your stance clear. They could be visuals or imageries that explain or restate the point to be made until the point is taken.
A third way to help readers understand what you mean is to offer an analogy. Make an analogy between one thing and another for the purpose of explanation or clarification. This helps you to enliven your subject and waken your readers to something remarkable about it. Do this by referring to a second subject that is manifestly lively and memorable in precisely the respect you’re saying your real subject is. In other words, you’re asking your readers to engage their imagination and see your real subject as that other one they’re a lot familiar with, which may be more lovely or remarkable to them. An example is ‘Finding that lost dog would be like finding a needle in a haystack.’
Making comparisons is another way of making your point stand out. Even though it may not be so striking when you compare what you’re saying to something equally familiar to a reader, making comparisons helps you point up the essence of the thing you mean by reference to another essence like it. The hope is that the quality of what you’re referring to will become clearer when your reader sees it to belong not just to this one case but to a class of two or more. As an instance, let’s consider this: when comparing the sizes of birds, ostriches are clearly the largest of them all.
Contrasting something to its opposite is another fine way to make your point stand out in a paragraph or in speaking. Someone might say, ‘She likes it cold; I like it warm.’ This is a kind of contrast that focuses on the difference between the two persons, and this could be a sure way of making the point of the difference stand out. Another example is ‘She loves to sleep in the dark, but I adore the lights.’
Could you also focus on the cause of things as a way of making a point stand out? Yes! Your paragraph could focus on the reason something happened in a particular way or at all. Someone might ask a question, ‘Why am I anxious?’ and then proceed with the reason for the anxiety or ‘Does money really bring happiness?’ People would likely be interested in knowing the answer to that question, depending on the context of speaking or writing. If you check out the writing of historians, you will find that they are almost always interested in what, how and why something happened. This interest leads them to use the reason for things happening as a style of writing to keep their readers’ interest alive.
Another great perspective to making the main point stand out is to focus on the effect of things happening – possibly after talking about why they happen. Focusing afterwards on the consequences of what happened could be a way to make a point stand out in a paragraph. It limits the point to just one thing in the paragraph. Let’s take the following as an example: ‘She did not study enough, and she waited too long to do so; therefore, she failed her exams.
Would you like to take the approach of giving a definition instead? Defining something – anything – places a bound around it. This makes you restrict meaning to promote clarity. It is true that dictionaries are there for that purpose; however, a defining paragraph proposes a definition of something and then goes on to justify, exemplify and elaborate that definition – sometimes outside the scope and context of what it is known. By defining something – taking a large idea and trying to characterize it – you make it beg for explanation. And that is what the rest of the paragraph should do – explaining components of that definition, for example, why it is so, by whose judgment it is so adjudged and the reason for that conclusion.
An additional way to make a point stand out in a paragraph is to do analysis. This broadly means a hardheaded consideration of something. If a reading forces someone to make judgments of a text, then they’re deploying critical and analytical thinking. As a writer, you also ought to do the same. Being analytical as you write a paragraph entails that you break your subject down to its components and explain each of them in turn. It is very much like taking an engine apart to see how it runs and putting it back together and still getting it to run. You’re sure to find loads of analysis in legal writing and textbooks and manuals. What are the parts that make the whole what it is, how does the system work, what are we talking about exactly? Deploying this procedure in writing means that you do analysis. And you always win by making your point stand out.
One more way to make your point stand out is to make a bold statement and to retreat from it. This is the process of qualifying your point. You just put it out there – it might evoke a sense of humour from you to do this. An example of a bold statement is ‘Make them have no choice but to believe in you,’ ‘Let people know I am here now, so they know who they must deal with.’