Writing [Tutorial] The Secret to Proper Paragraphing and Dialogue

RaidenInfinity

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Web novel writing =/= traditional book writing.

And the guide in this thread is for people who wants to get traditionally published to learn how to tailor their stuff to professional traditional publishing requirements, ain't it? So yeah, it's like the environment is like that so you learn how to adapt to it, from what I see here.
 
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LilTV1155

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You guys . . . . okay, I said my piece. No need to waste my time on this drama whether history, records, statistic, and whatever get involved. If some of you think that I'm a coward for backing out of this thread, that's fine. I don't really care for that because I am going to use that time to focus on building my worlds and lives for my characters.

Everyone can disagree. I want to ask everyone in this thread a few questions:

1) Are Mandarin Chinese, French, American Sign Language, Japanese, Greek, Spanish, Hindi, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese considered "languages"? And I don't meant just the ones that you can just speak or verbalize. But the category of Languages always have their own rules and cultures.
So if you only came to either learn or improve your English Language Usage or English version of story writing, then rules are rules.

By English's "rules", I do not meant the "traditional publishing" or "market trending" or "number stats" stuffs. Because I think that is just drama unless you want to make money and fame off your own stories.

2) I know that Americans are known for disrespecting cultures, customs, and sometimes languages worldwide. But if you are dissing the grammars by Capitalizing every first letter of a word in every sentence, abusing "said" to the point it's "He/She/I/Me/You/They/Name/Object said, said, said", having 10 paragraphs made of 5 run-on sentences, "it's vs. its" confusion, jamming all your dialogue quotations into one paragraph of details, not specifying the identities of your speakers when in dialogue mode like "1" "2" "3" "4", misusing certain concepts when it's already existed and misrepresenting those concepts like "naiads" which are painted as "dark element succubus demons" when NAIADS ARE WATER NYMPHS, and etc. Those are criticisms that writers need some times to think about.

English grammars are not supposed to attack your stories, but your way of formatting structures written in English language have become a problem because the Feedbackers spotted this issue not just 1 time, but 25 times.

If I am an American who decide to write in any of the language listed in Question 1, but keep doing all that is listed above and refuse to fix the repetitive errors when noted by Native Speakers about it, then I must be an Idiot who only write to disrespect other people's language and cultures. This will escalate to international politic dramas because Readers only understand certain part and will misunderstand the rest.

So what the hell are your intentions and what messages are you trying to tell the worlds through your story?

3) If you are here to write your OWN stories NOT for money, fame, but for fun, self-experiment, and to tell a story, then WHAT THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU GUYS ALL DOING HERE DEBATING, LURKING, OR TROLLING ON THIS THREAD AND NOT TAKING THAT DRAMA-RAGE TIME TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN STORIES' WORLDS AND DO SHIT STUFF WITH YOUR CHARACTERS' PLOTS?

GETTING ALL THAT RAGE OVER YOUR WRITING STYLE BEING DISSED FOR NOT BEING SO "ENGLISH LIT RULES" AND SPENDING THAT DRAMA TIME TO ARGUE BACK AND FORTH WILL GET NO ONE NOWHERE TO COMPLETION.

I don't really care if I am hated for saying this. JUST BECAUSE YOUR BOOKS JUST BECAME A GREAT SALE OR ACCEPTED DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN USE THAT TO SLAP YOUR IDEALS AND SUCCESSES ON PEOPLE'S FACES ESPECIALLY ON POTENTIAL WRITERS WHO GOT THEIR OWN DREAMS AND THE WRITERS THAT ONLY CAME TO TELL THEIR STORIES AND SHARE IDEAS.

SO BE DONE WITH YOUR DRAMA and get back to your own storytelling. The story you tell is not just for the world around you, but for yourself.

Know your priority. Is this story an art or profit? Then write it like one!
Is this story for you or for others? Then write it like one and don't you dare expect anything from people!


You all could use that emotional drama time as fuels to grow your story worlds instead of fuck-fighting people on the internet. Just to be sure, IF YOU ASK FOR FEEDBACKS, you will not be given praises, but GET ALL the commentaries plus notes on everything you did to your writing.

Ask yourself this when editing, "If I change it, will that make my characters, my setting, my explanations, or my plot clear?"
NOT the "Will the changes impact your styles?"

Being a writer is to create a world for yourself to hold in your hands before sharing with others.
Disregard that, then your world's just wasted sands and you will feel hurt very hard and empty at this worst time.
 

OokamiKasumi

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Web novel writing =/= traditional book writing.

And the guide in this thread is for people who wants to get traditionally published to learn how to tailor their stuff to professional traditional publishing requirements, ain't it? So yeah, it's like the environment is like that so you learn how to adapt to it, from what I see here.
Exactly!
 
D

Deleted member 45782

Guest
What is it with people saying "said" is invisible to native readers lol. Its not. Esp. if its repeated a 100 times. It sounds repetitive and a bit cringe. We just try to ignore it for the sake of maybe a good story as in one with a good plot. But don't think we don't see it or it just never crossed our minds, its there and for some its bugging repetitive and takes out what could have been a great immersion.

If a word is supposed be "invisible," then it can be removed. Now its actually invisible because the word is no longer mentioned. Otherwise its telling me the elephant is not in the room when its clearly visible.

However since people seem to be so hang up on the rules of writing, there is no black and white rule. Its not bad to use said once in awhile, in fact its great. Just change it up a bit from time to time. And that goes for all other rules. But what if, what if.. There's always some exceptions. Its just a matter of how many fail while trying to become that exception. Some succeed, while others collapse a whole thing (be it trope, genre rule, etc). bc its often carried out too poorly. Some people follow the writing to a T when they shouldn't. Go for what one wants. But if still struggling and wonder why views/positive ratings haven't grown with your writing, then maybe, just maybe, revisit a few guidelines.

Said is not invisible. There are times where its pretty clear if its been redundant. Just wanted point that out.
 

AinsleyMarrow

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If you say you don't read works that don't follow these rules, I'll go ahead and assume you haven't read anything from before 2010. That's when people began preaching 'show, don't tell' as if it holds any water what.so.ever. Previous works make use of passive voice in ways that would disgust you, apparently.
When were you born, 2000? I took creative writing classes at university in 1999 that presented "show don't tell" as optimal. Hell, even my high school English classes preached that for standard papers back in the 90s. If I turned in a paper with passive voice in it, it was a C at best.
 

Biggest-Kusa-Out-There

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When were you born, 2000? I took creative writing classes at university in 1999 that presented "show don't tell" as optimal. Hell, even my high school English classes preached that for standard papers back in the 90s. If I turned in a paper with passive voice in it, it was a C at best.
Joya, bet. 'People preaching' is not a professor teaching 20-100 students. You def learned English before me, so don't act as if you dont get the meaning.
 

RaidenInfinity

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Well, though this is a little off topic, but I'll tell a little about why KR/JP/CN web novels tend to have short paragraphs and weird dialogue tagging (the tag is disconnected from the dialogue in its own paragraph). For equal-width character languages (like Korean and Chinese), legibility is a critical issue. You see, web novel readers (i know JP/CN ones do, not sure about KR) tend to want things that are easy and fast to read. They're gonna just skim through the text and press the next chapter button because there's so many novels out there on sites like Syosetsu (JP) and Qidian (CN) and there's less time to spare.

Now look at this picture. This illustrates what happens when reading a Chinese novel with long ass paragraphs on mobile phone.

1631262413595.png


Boy, the wall of text is damn excruciating to read (You don't even need to understand the language to feel the pain). And yes, the Chinese text in this picture does follow the styling where paragraphing is done by change of speaker like what's recommended in this thread. Look what comes out of it. That's why you often see one-sentence-paragraphs in KR/JP/CN writing even though it shouldn't be like that (for CN at least as there's quite the number of similarities between EN and CN styling guidelines).

For English, it's slightly less problematic as you have white space in between groups of letters (words) but similar concept applies when it comes to web platforms.
 
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Biggest-Kusa-Out-There

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You guys . . . . okay, I said my piece. No need to waste my time on this drama whether history, records, statistic, and whatever get involved. If some of you think that I'm a coward for backing out of this thread, that's fine. I don't really care for that because I am going to use that time to focus on building my worlds and lives for my characters.

Everyone can disagree. I want to ask everyone in this thread a few questions:

1) Are Mandarin Chinese, French, American Sign Language, Japanese, Greek, Spanish, Hindi, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese considered "languages"? And I don't meant just the ones that you can just speak or verbalize. But the category of Languages always have their own rules and cultures.
So if you only came to either learn or improve your English Language Usage or English version of story writing, then rules are rules.

By English's "rules", I do not meant the "traditional publishing" or "market trending" or "number stats" stuffs. Because I think that is just drama unless you want to make money and fame off your own stories.

2) I know that Americans are known for disrespecting cultures, customs, and sometimes languages worldwide. But if you are dissing the grammars by Capitalizing every first letter of a word in every sentence, abusing "said" to the point it's "He/She/I/Me/You/They/Name/Object said, said, said", having 10 paragraphs made of 5 run-on sentences, "it's vs. its" confusion, jamming all your dialogue quotations into one paragraph of details, not specifying the identities of your speakers when in dialogue mode like "1" "2" "3" "4", misusing certain concepts when it's already existed and misrepresenting those concepts like "naiads" which are painted as "dark element succubus demons" when NAIADS ARE WATER NYMPHS, and etc. Those are criticisms that writers need some times to think about.

English grammars are not supposed to attack your stories, but your way of formatting structures written in English language have become a problem because the Feedbackers spotted this issue not just 1 time, but 25 times.

If I am an American who decide to write in any of the language listed in Question 1, but keep doing all that is listed above and refuse to fix the repetitive errors when noted by Native Speakers about it, then I must be an Idiot who only write to disrespect other people's language and cultures. This will escalate to international politic dramas because Readers only understand certain part and will misunderstand the rest.

So what the hell are your intentions and what messages are you trying to tell the worlds through your story?

3) If you are here to write your OWN stories NOT for money, fame, but for fun, self-experiment, and to tell a story, then WHAT THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU GUYS ALL DOING HERE DEBATING, LURKING, OR TROLLING ON THIS THREAD AND NOT TAKING THAT DRAMA-RAGE TIME TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN STORIES' WORLDS AND DO SHIT STUFF WITH YOUR CHARACTERS' PLOTS?

GETTING ALL THAT RAGE OVER YOUR WRITING STYLE BEING DISSED FOR NOT BEING SO "ENGLISH LIT RULES" AND SPENDING THAT DRAMA TIME TO ARGUE BACK AND FORTH WILL GET NO ONE NOWHERE TO COMPLETION.

I don't really care if I am hated for saying this. JUST BECAUSE YOUR BOOKS JUST BECAME A GREAT SALE OR ACCEPTED DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN USE THAT TO SLAP YOUR IDEALS AND SUCCESSES ON PEOPLE'S FACES ESPECIALLY ON POTENTIAL WRITERS WHO GOT THEIR OWN DREAMS AND THE WRITERS THAT ONLY CAME TO TELL THEIR STORIES AND SHARE IDEAS.

SO BE DONE WITH YOUR DRAMA and get back to your own storytelling. The story you tell is not just for the world around you, but for yourself.

Know your priority. Is this story an art or profit? Then write it like one!
Is this story for you or for others? Then write it like one and don't you dare expect anything from people!


You all could use that emotional drama time as fuels to grow your story worlds instead of fuck-fighting people on the internet. Just to be sure, IF YOU ASK FOR FEEDBACKS, you will not be given praises, but GET ALL the commentaries plus notes on everything you did to your writing.

Ask yourself this when editing, "If I change it, will that make my characters, my setting, my explanations, or my plot clear?"
NOT the "Will the changes impact your styles?"

Being a writer is to create a world for yourself to hold in your hands before sharing with others.
Disregard that, then your world's just wasted sands and you will feel hurt very hard and empty at this worst time.
Drama? Rage? Trolling?
The fuck you on about, buddy? Discussing is healthy.
 

owotrucked

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Well, though this is a little off topic, but I'll tell a little about why KR/JP/CN web novels tend to have short paragraphs and weird dialogue tagging (the tag is disconnected from the dialogue in its own paragraph). For equal-width character languages (like Korean and Chinese), legibility is a critical issue. You see, web novel readers (i know JP/CN ones do, not sure about KR) tend to want things that are easy and fast to read. They're gonna just skim through the text and press the next chapter button because there's so many novels out there on sites like Syosetsu (JP) and Qidian (CN) and there's less time to spare.

Now look at this picture. This illustrates what happens when reading a Chinese novel with long ass paragraphs on mobile phone.

View attachment 9641

Boy, the wall of text is damn excruciating to read (You don't even need to understand the language to feel the pain). And yes, the Chinese text in this picture does follow the styling where paragraphing is done by change of speaker like what's recommended in this thread. Look what comes out of it. That's why you often see one-sentence-paragraphs in KR/JP/CN writing even though it shouldn't be like that (for CN at least as there's quite the number of similarities between EN and CN styling guidelines).

For English, it's slightly less problematic as you have white space in between groups of letters (words) but similar concept applies when it comes to web platforms.
Oh that's why I was corrupted.

As a non-native english speaker, I like short paragraphs even if it means to break actions and put a shitty "he said" tag at the end of each dialogue. I feel like it's so much easier to read.

Heck, I don't care about "said", and would just enjoy the name of the speaker in the margin.
 

ForestDweller

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Oh, I definitely have a problem with talking heads. I'm just too lazy to fix it. :s_tongue:

I'm not creative enough to think up all sorts of ways I can write my characters' body language. I'll get stuck thinking about it.

Then again, I'm writing a Japanese-style light novel where that kind of stuff is everywhere.
 

ForestDweller

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@OokamiKasumi I want to ask you something. How about splitting two speaking paragraphs that are both said by the same character? I usually do it for emphasis or to show that there's a brief pause between the two. Like when a character suddenly changes his/her topic.

Oh that's why I was corrupted.

As a non-native english speaker, I like short paragraphs even if it means to break actions and put a shitty "he said" tag at the end of each dialogue. I feel like it's so much easier to read.

Heck, I don't care about "said", and would just enjoy the name of the speaker in the margin.

As a non-native, I prefer not having tags at all if you're just going to add he said or she said to every line. There's no need to since it should already be obvious who's speaking.

That's what I dislike with a lot of webnovels. They have these long ass conversations that don't distinguish between who the speakers are. That's why my characters tend to have distinct way of speaking that is immediately obvious to the reader.
 

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
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@OokamiKasumi I want to ask you something. How about splitting two speaking paragraphs that are both said by the same character? I usually do it for emphasis or to show that there's a brief pause between the two. Like when a character suddenly changes his/her topic.
@ForestDweller
Paragraphing IS supposed to be divided by character --actions+dialogue. However sooner or later one will run across: Run-On Dialogue.

Run-On Dialogue is when one character talks, and talks, and talks...for whole paragraphs at a time.

Oddly enough, this problem isn't all that common, but it can happen to new writers who still haven't quite figured out how to break up their dialogue with actions and descriptions.

Far more common is the creation of whole paragraphs of Internal Dialogue and Introspection, especially when one writes in First Person POV, or Third Person Close POV.

When only one character is acting and talking, or acting and thinking, this can make for walls of text the size of a skyscraper. So, how do you break all that up?

Well hopefully you're breaking all that talking up with body language, action, and descriptions.

So, that's what you do first: Break up your lines of Dialogue with Actions, Description, and Body Language.

Next! Sub-Divide those lines of dialogue into paragraphs by Change in Action -- Change in Location -- Change in Thought or Ideas.

Example: Change in Thought or Idea
Did you know that you're supposed to write someone arguing with themselves as two different people having an argument complete with paragraph breaks, even though they're the same person?​
I sure didn't.​
Then my editor sent me that particular manuscript page covered in red ink.​

Example of all three in 3rd Person Close POV:
Standing with her back against her room's closed door, Michiru clutched her bathrobe to her throat and gasped for breath. She'd known that Koyomi and Aso were...dating, but she hadn't quite realized they'd gone that far.

She winced. Idiot...! Of course they've gone that far. The Yomi half of Koyomi's personality was openly lecherous, at least around Michiru, and Aso was a known womanizer. She'd had more than one run-in with his openly adoring and half-naked harem.

Michiru sighed heavily then turned to her right to set her bath things on her battered dresser next to her aged brass bed. It was beginning to look like she was the only virgin in the dorm. In fact, according to the gossip her classmates shared, she was very likely the only virgin in the whole senior class.

She was seriously beginning to feel rather...left out.

Michiru scowled and jerked opened the middle drawer of her dresser to yank out a pink flannel nightgown. Stupid virginity! She flung the night gown on the neatly made bed and slammed the drawer closed. It wasn't that she was saving herself for marriage or anything. She doubted she'd live that long. She just wanted to give her virginity to someone she liked - that liked her back.

However, the way things were going, she sincerely doubted she'd live long enough to go on a proper date, never mind get the chance to lose her virginity. Damn it!

Michiru stomped across the room to pull the heavy curtains closed. It was too damned cold at night to leave them open. The cracked windows did little to keep heat in the room. She then moved to the fireplace opposite her bed and knelt to light the paper covered fire log in her fireplace, then added a few actual wood logs. The aged fireplace was the room's only source of heat and the paper coated fire log only lasted a few hours.

Once the log was well and truly lit, she slipped out of her bathrobe and pulled her night gown over her head, tugging it down over her nudity. Stupid zombies! Why were they all in her town anyway? If it hadn't been for them, she'd have been able to live a normal life and gotten herself a normal boyfriend.

Michiru flopped back on her bed to stare at the cracked, water-stained ceiling. So what should I do? She didn't want to die a virgin! That would be completely pathetic.
Note how the character's Actions and Mood Swings (the back and forth in Thought,) allowed for paragraph breaks.

Hopefully that helped.
 
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Vicky

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There is a reason why this particular book is used as a College textbook.

What a lot of people don't know is that Strunk & White's book was first written in the late 1800's. It has since been...abridged many, many times since then. However, quite a bit of the original language is still in there and this has caused no end of problems with those who don't read actual literature.
And how many of those college kids, end up making a living out of writing novels? 5 out of a class of 30?
@ForestDweller
Paragraphing IS supposed to be divided by character --actions+dialogue. However sooner or later one will run across: Run-On Dialogue.

Run-On Dialogue is when one character talks, and talks, and talks...for whole paragraphs at a time.

Oddly enough, this problem isn't all that common, but it can happen to new writers who still haven't quite figured out how to break up their dialogue with actions and descriptions.

Far more common is the creation of whole paragraphs of Internal Dialogue and Introspection, especially when one writes in First Person POV, or Third Person Close POV.

When only one character is acting and talking, or acting and thinking, this can make for walls of text the size of a skyscraper. So, how do you break all that up?

Well hopefully you're breaking all that talking up with body language, action, and descriptions.

So, that's what you do first: Break up your lines of Dialogue with Actions, Description, and Body Language.
Run-On Dialogue in web fiction is not bad. Adding actions to the dialogue might destroy the flow of the conversation.
 

OokamiKasumi

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OokamiKasumi said:
There is a reason why this particular book is used as a College textbook.
And how many of those college kids, end up making a living out of writing novels? 5 out of a class of 30?

Probably less than that. I'd say one out of every other class.

Colleges generally teach Creative writing, not Fiction writing.
-- There are a few colleges that do teach proper fiction writing with actual published fiction authors teaching it. However, the bulk of most writing classes offered in colleges teach Business writing, Thesis writing, and Creative writing. Even English Lit classes don't teach writing, merely how to break stories down to their component parts.

My copy of Strunk & White's was assigned by a thesis writing class I took.

The best Fiction writing courses are found in workshops offered by published authors. Sometimes they're held on college campuses, (Charles DeLint often holds workshops in UNC,) and some can be found at fantasy/anime conventions, (Ursula K LeGuin, CJ Cherryh, and Laurell K Hamilton used to go to Dragon Con in GA regularly,) but most of them are hosted privately at week-long retreats. They're not free, or cheap, but they cover a lot of the things you can't find in writing books, such as how to paragraph by character, how to plot a fantasy/adventure novel, and how to write smut scenes. ☕
 
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ForestDweller

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Oh yeah, does this apply to non-dialogue paragraphs? Like paragraphs describing a place or describing characters' actions in a detached, omniscient manner?
 

LostLibrarian

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Oh yeah, does this apply to non-dialogue paragraphs? Like paragraphs describing a place or describing characters' actions in a detached, omniscient manner?
Yeah. A usual good rule of thumb is: "Use one paragraph for one thought you want to get across".

So when you describe a village, it helps to go:
- One paragraph the overall village feeling
- One paragraph important building a
- One paragraph important building b
- One paragraph person living in important building b
- One paragraph important building c
(Though of course, it's better to try and space them a bit and do dialogue or other stuff in between).

If you have three important things about one building that each have 2,3 sentences, then use 3 paragraphs for those things. If you switch from the look of a building to the function, it is also best to switch.

Same for a more detached battle:
- One paragraph attack person A
- One paragraph defense person B
- One paragraph summarizing the skipable bits
- One paragraph big attack A
- One paragraph B wounded

One paragraph per thought makes it clear, when you switch the subject of your sentence.
And it often also flows a lot better because there is less "what is he talking about" involved...
 

OokamiKasumi

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Oh yeah, does this apply to non-dialogue paragraphs? Like paragraphs describing a place or describing characters' actions in a detached, omniscient manner?
If a character is interacting with the background they are in, then that background should be part of that character's paragraph.

Example: from Death & the Maiden
Still dressed in her school uniform; a burgundy turtleneck dress with a mauve sailor-styled short jacket, Michiru Kita strode across the creaky wood floor of the Black Dorm's decrepit dining room. She set her dinner bowl and chop sticks down on a table that was little more than boards set across saw horses, but the white table cloth was clean and creased from being pressed. The dining room itself was small, the saw-horse table and its eight miss-matched wooden chairs taking up most of it.​

Simple observations of the area around them can be divided into their own paragraphs, and likely should -- especially if the description is long and detailed.

Example: (The next two paragraphs after the one above.)​

A battered tile-top counter across the far end of the room was all that divided the dining area from the kitchen area. The sinks and squealing copper pipes dated back to the turn of the century, but the polished steel gas stove and massive stainless steel refrigerator were less than a year old.​
Despite the crumbling and faded red plaster walls with its creaky, uneven flooring, the dining room was bright from the early November sunset spilling through the row of aged windows that made up the entire back wall. The view from said windows however, was more than a little depressing; a weed-filled graveyard that surrounded the entire building.​

Commentary and internal thoughts on the setting, however, should get their own paragraph.

Example: (The paragraph following the two above.)​

Once upon a time, the ramshackle dormitory had been a chapel for the aged Victorian Catholic school that Michiru attended; Kokuba Academy. As such, the school was only a short walk beyond the tall wrought iron fence guarding the cemetery surrounding the dormitory. She'd be graduating next spring - if she lived that long.​
The truth is, it's up to the writer's taste how they divide up long heavy paragraphs describing the scenery.

I prefer to write scenery interspersed with with character actions and internal comments to keep the scene moving. This also keeps the text from turning into intimidating walls and getting dull or boring for my readers. ☕
 
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