Readers expect your ideas to flow easily from one thought to the next logical thought. You make this process easier for them when you connect the ideas in the current sentence to something you mentioned in the previous sentence—and it’s even better when you stick to one idea per paragraph. Yes, you can branch out and add other ideas/concepts, but you can only do that after you have a solid foundation in place; in other words, the reader has to be comfortable with the topic at hand, and you need to lead from one idea to the next, explaining what you are doing along the way.
How Can I Create Flow?
Flow is rooted in audience awareness. To create flow you need to understand
- what your audience knows about the topic,
- how your audience feels about the topic.
Only after you’ve engaged in robust rhetorical reasoning can you organize information for reader, moving from given to new information.
Furthermore, you can create flow
- by not flip flopping from topic to topic;
- Rearrange the order of your sentences so that each idea connects to the others like scaffolding.
- Reword some of your sentences so that the ideas in one are linked to the ideas in the others.
- Use words like first, next, then, and finally when describing a process.
- Put main ideas at the top; relate the following sentences to the main idea.
- by staying on message
- by using organizational schema, rhetorical moves, genres, that makes logical and rhetorical sense
- Between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, rhetors use transitional devices that highlight the logical connections between ideas.
- by developing a single topic before moving on to a new topic
- by using conventions that readers anticipate and understand
- by relating elements of discourse within a text (e.g., sentences or paragraphs) to other elements of discourse within the same text (i.e., other sentences or paragraphs) and the topic, thesis, research question, story that drives the discourse.