How to Write Prose
There’s just one rule for writing prose: don’t write verse by mistake. If you grew up in the modern world, chances are you’ve been writing prose since the day you started stringing sentences together on a page. So all you have to do now is keep it up!
- In general, prose does not have line breaks; rather, it has complete sentences with periods or other punctuation marks.
- There’s another very important kind of line break that makes your prose easier to understand: paragraph breaks. Paragraphs break up your writing into manageable chunks that the reader can digest one at a time as they read. This is especially important in essays, where each paragraph contains a single “step” in the argument. Without paragraph breaks, prose becomes pretty ugly: just a huge block of words without any breaks or structure at all!
When to Use Prose
Unless you’re writing poetry, you’re writing prose. (Remember that prose has a negative definition.) As we saw in §2, essays use prose. This is mainly just a convention – it’s what readers are used to, so it’s what writers use. In the modern world, we generally find prose easier to read, so readers prefer to have essays written that way. The same thing is true for stories – we have an easier time following the story when it’s written in prose simply because it’s what we’re accustomed to.
So you can use prose pretty much anywhere – poetry is the only kind of writing that frequently uses verse, meaning prose covers everything else. And even poetry, as we’ve seen, can be written in prose. So when should you use prose? The answer is: all over the place.