Common writer mistakes #18

#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.

Main 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.

Camera moves

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.

Bonus reasons:

Emphasis 

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!

Want more?

#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 — Vagueness for tension
#3 — Repeating words for emphasis
#4 — Common misused words
#5 — Misusing hyphens

#6 — Unnecessary details
#7 — Not developing characters
#8 — The words feel and felt
#9 — Overusing character names
#10 — Adding too many details with commas

#11 — Different types of dashes
#12 — Not using plain language
#13 — Dialogue tags vs action beats
#14 — Misusing commas
#15 — No sentence variation

#16 — Misplaced modifiers
#17 — Characters with similar names

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s