Learning how to break your writing into paragraphs can be confusing and mind-boggling. For the sake of clarity and readability, all writing should be broken into paragraphs. One massive solid block of text can be overwhelming for someone to actually read, and it may discourage readers from studying it no matter how well written it is. A new paragraph is important for the readers as it tells them a switch is being made in time, place, topic or speaker.
There really isn’t any kind of preparation to be completed before a piece is written, except for the appropriate amount of research. A written piece can be broken into paragraphs after it is completed, or it can be accomplished as the test is being written. Creating paragraphs as you go along will help you keep track of what is being written, as the document will be easier to read as you go along.
There are five standard examples of a new paragraph being appropriate and include: 1) when a new topic is started; 2) when a new time setting is encountered; 3) when a new place is encountered; 4) when a new person begins to speak; 5) when a dramatic effect is desired. Let’s look at each instance.
- When a new topic is started: It doesn’t matter what the subject of the written narrative is, it is important to take each subject and give it its own paragraph. This keeps thoughts and information from getting muddled and confusing.
- When a new time setting is encountered: A change in time is any instance where time is skipped and will be noted as later the day, the next morning, six hours past, life in the city remained unchanged, the group waited and waited and minutes and seconds seemed like hours and hours. This type of paragraph will occur usually in short stories.
- When a new place is encountered: When the story shifts to a new place or a new scene, a new paragraph will help keep the details from getting confused with other events in the narrative. A new scene may be named by location and noted with a phrase that means a new location is now the focus.
- When a new person speaks: This will be found when the dialogue takes place or a quote is introduced into the narrative. Dialogue will help bring the narrative to life, and each time there is a dialogue exchange between multiple people, a new paragraph is to come in place. This keeps the conversation smooth and uncluttered. If a person takes on an action event before speaking, the action should be included in the paragraph as well.
- When a dramatic effect is desired: Sometimes, the desire is to make a paragraph standout or slow the narrative down and control the pace of what is being written. The dramatic paragraph is still connected to the previous paragraph, but gives the narrative a break in the action. The dramatic paragraph might be as simple as a single word, or it can be a multi-sentence paragraph that has the ability to stand entirely on its own, but gives the action a break.
Paragraphs can be thought of as little ideas, and every idea is the beginning of a new paragraph. A paragraph can be as long as it takes to include a complete thought or a bit of a dialogue. The only time a paragraph will be one sentence, is when it is a line of dialogue, or when the paragraph is used for some dramatic effect. Technically, a new paragraph can be started at the discretion of the writer.