Writing: One topic per paragraph

http://www.in-nuce.com - One topic per paragraph
One topic per paragraph. (Source: Nancy comic strip by Ernie Bushmiller)

A narrative is an account of events following some chronological form.
Adapted from A New English Grammar for Schools, by Thomas Harvey:

Analysis of a narrative:

Each paragraph begins a new idea or topic.

A. From "Girl on the Road" in My America, by Louis Adamic:

  1.      It was near seven o'clock on a mid-November morning, cold and windy under a bleak Ohio sky, and—New York-bound—I was driving out of Cleveland, where I had spent the previous evening with pleasant friends, dining at their home, and spending the rest of the night at a comfortable hotel. I had had my breakfast and was warm in the new overcoat and gloves I had bought in Detroit a few days before. There was a heater in the car, and when the wind occasionally lurched into me with great force and threatened to swerve me off the road, I almost enjoyed the sensation I experienced.
  2.      For two or three miles, approaching the village of Chagrin Falls, not far from Cleveland, I met or passed no car, and none passed me. Then, just ahead, as I swung around a turn, I noticed a little figure—woman or girl—moving across the top of a slight rise in the road. Stumbling and staggering under the wind's impact, she carried a suitcase; and, wondering what she was doing out so early on such a morning, I assumed she must be going some place close by. I decided to offer her the lift she evidently sought, and I slowed down going up the incline.
  3.      She turned about and beckoned to me with a feeble, despairing gesture of her arm, then stumbled—seemingly over her own feet, as the wind pushed her—and fell on the suitcase, which hit the pavement simultaneously with her knees. This occurred when I was perhaps fifty feet from her, and I had to shift into second to enable the car to pull upgrade against the strong wind. By the time I had stopped she had scrambled up again, and was about to pick up the suitcase when, abruptly, it blew open, and the wind scooped out most of its contents and flung them against the fence and amid the cornstalks of the field along the highway.
  4.      I hurriedly stepped out of the automobile, ran to her, and was confronted at closest proximity by a girl who was but little more than a skin-enveloped skeleton. Her cheap clothing was threadbare, wrinkled, ripped in several places. Her thin, sharp face was blue from the cold and wind, except where it was black and yellow around two considerable scars, one on her left cheek and the other above her right eye. Her whole body, and every part of it separately, quaked and twitched in short, swift jerks.

B. This narrative excerpt consists of four paragraphs, each about one topic, as follows:

  1. On a windy day, the author is driving.
  2. He notices a girl with a suitcase on the road.
  3. The girl stumbles, and the contents of her suitcase spill.
  4. The author notes the girl's emaciated appearance.


First outline, then write an anecdote about a person you've met. Each paragraph in your narrative should begin a new topic.

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