#18 — When to start new paragraphs
Deciding where to start a new paragraph is important. Readers can get confused or lost if everything’s all in one. So, I made a list of the top three reasons to start a new one.
Who’s speaking changes
If a different character talks, start a new paragraph. Having two characters speak in the same paragraph will confuse readers.
Also, if one character speaks, put other characters’ actions in a different paragraph. Readers can follow a story along better if one paragraph follows one character. Unless a lot of action happens all at once, mixing different characters’ actions and dialogue can get confusing.
In scenes, it can be helpful to think of it like you’re filming a movie. If the camera angle changes in any way, it’s a good idea to start a new paragraph. This smooths out the scene, keeping everything on one topic together.
Something major—like time or location—changes
If something big changes, it’s critical to start a new paragraph. Readers can get confused by a sudden change if it’s in the middle of a paragraph.
If you’d like to emphasize a sentence, putting it by itself in its own paragraph is a good way to go. It makes the sentence pop off and stick out to the readers.
Dialogue takes up most of the page
If dialogue spans over half a page, it may be a good idea to split it up into multiple paragraphs. Having long blocks of words can get hard to read for some readers.
Hope this helps!