Here's an example from my own writing (this is a first draft so there might be errors):

Turn for Kazuo's eyeballs. I take them to the table, but I don't eat them immediately. I look at them looking back at me. Like they always did. When I ate, when I slept, right the second I woke up. A rare sight. Especially between old couples. Most of the time, the two people are squinting at their phones, glancing around the table, like strangers forced to stick together. You'd think rejection can only occur before a relationship. Not necessarily.

So when Kazuo kept looking at me as often after seven years of relationship, I had to ask him why.

As you can see, the bolded section slightly diverts from the first paragraph. (It stops talking about Kazuo and enters to a more general topic.)

Is this a bad idea? Does it make the writing look messy/disorganized?

  • "A rare sight." is not a sentence. Feb 3, 2017 at 14:17
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    @user6035379 Yes. It. Is. It is just incomplete.
    – Lew
    Feb 3, 2017 at 14:23
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    Just checking — is it an artifact of translation to English that you are describing the narrator physically bringing someone's eyeballs to the table with the intent of consuming them? Because if that's actually what you meant, dude. O.o Feb 3, 2017 at 14:40
  • @Lauren Ipsum The story is about a girl who can't accept losing her boyfriend (he dies of sudden heart failure), so she decides to eat him so he can live inside her. Forever. Each time she eats a body part, there's a flashback that has to do with her boyfriend and that part. It's romance. Cannibalistic romance.
    – wyc
    Feb 3, 2017 at 16:01
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    That, bizarrely, makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. :) Feb 3, 2017 at 17:56

3 Answers 3


To clarify and follow up on Henry Taylor's answer;

As you are writing in the first person, your writing is reflective of your character's mind. Is your character naturally clumsy, or is he straight minded and strategic? Did they just have a shocking experience and are now confused, and how do they deal with it?

If you're writing a character that tediously elaborates on every single tiny detail, perhaps this writing style would work, conveying how they constantly switch between ideas.

Or maybe your character has two different personalities that argue back and forth, or one side is more analytical.

As an exercise, try to imagine writing in the first person as telling yourself what's going on. Think of you being in your character's situation. Maybe your character is currently sprinting away from a pursuer, panicked and in shock - and notices a small detail?

I matched each footstep that thudded down the alley behind me with two of mine. This couldn't end like this, could it? The glowing neon sign above me advertised a writers convention. Heh - if only I could be sitting at home reading a book with a hot cuppa in my hand.

Perhaps try to create a more emphasized link between the two events? I used a neon sign in my example to anchor the current state of the character running with his mind wanting to sit reading a book. I've reformatted it here:

(Note: I was slightly confused at the context of this piece, I had thought that he was eating Kazuo's eyes but soon realized that he was eating something that you hadn't mentioned in this paragraph.)

Turning, I looked directly at Kazuo. About to bite into a [donut] that I had just grabbed from the table, I was forced to stop. Our eyes met and I just watched as his pupils stared back at me like they always did. Whenever I ate or slept, they would just look at me with that pathetic look*. His burning intention was a rare sight even between old couples. Most of the time, a couple simply squint at their phones, glancing around their table like two strangers forced to sit together. [Unsure about where the rejection bit plays into this?]

*Note: I have no idea what kind of character Kazuo is so I just suggested this to allow for more emphasis of the situation


Is messy/disorganized a bad thing here? This writing sample is first person narration. It is not supposed to be grammatically or stylistically perfect. It is supposed to represent how this particular narrator would tell their tale.

Now to answer your question, for the sake of other non-narrative paragraphs, yes... rambling within a single paragraph is a bad idea. A composition's structure (including its paragraph breaks) should organize it concepts such that the reader receives the bulk of the conveyed information without disorder or distraction.

A carriage return before the bold text begins and a verb for that first bold sentence would improve the organization of this writing if it were not a narrative.

  • Thanks for the advice, especially regarding the carriage return. I think I haven't paid attention to first-person narration. I don't remember if diverting from the topic of a paragraph is common or not.
    – wyc
    Feb 3, 2017 at 14:16

I think you're confusing being organized in persuasive or technical writing, where it's important to stick to the topic sentence, with creative writing.

By the way, I wish you had given us a less yucky, less confusing example.

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