Paragraphs and Sentences
Sentences aren’t improved by stuffing more ideas into them. Periods are your friends. Synthesis happens between sentences.
When editing, I make every sentence into its own paragraph. I free the ideas from their mooring. This makes it easier to organize my thoughts and root out redundancy. After I look at each sentence individually and make sure everything is necessary and means what I intend, I pull the sentences back together into paragraphs and work on flow and rhythm.
Paragraphs don’t have the power to clarify muddled thoughts. In narrative fiction, topic sentences are usually superfluous and should be removed. Transition sentences condescend and rob the reader of subtext. Sentences can illuminate each other when you don’t over explain how they relate.
A good example is that you don’t always have to point out contradictions.
As an exercise, look through your writing for the word “but” and check if you can remove it by placing a period and making two sentences. Sometimes it won’t work. Other times it will make the two contrasting ideas stronger.