#18 — When to start new paragraphs
Deciding where to start a new paragraph can be hard. So, I made a list of the top three reasons to start a new paragraph, including a couple of bonus reasons.
Who’s speaking changes
If a different character starts talking, it’s important to start a new paragraph. Having two characters speaking in the same paragraph can confuse the readers.
It’s also important that if one character speaks, don’t put another character’s actions in that same paragraph. Readers can follow a story better if a paragraph follows one character. There are exceptions of course, including if a lot of action happens all at once.
When 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 major changes, it’s critical to start a new paragraph. Readers can get confused by the 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 already takes up most of the page
If the dialogue spans over half a page, it may be a good idea to split it up into multiple paragraphs.
Hope this helps!