This tip was prompted by a question:
At my last writers group meeting, I was told that my paragraphs were way too long. Can you give me an idea of appropriate paragraph length? Is is a certain number of sentences? How do I know when to make a new paragraph? Help!
First, let’s define “paragraph”.
Short answer: A paragraph is “a distinct portion of written or printed matter dealing with a particular idea.” (Dictionary.com)
Longer, more detailed answer: CLICK HERE.
A paragraph can be anywhere from one sentence (even one word) to a dozen sentences or more. In today’s world, shorter is better. (When editing, I frequently add paragraph breaks; rarely do I suggest combining paragraphs.) When a reader sees a page that is all one paragraph or has one long paragraph after another, they stop reading. It’s visually overwhelming. Breaking your text up into paragraphs makes it much easier to read.
So, when do you start a new paragraph?
- When a new person speaks
- When you start a new topic
- When you move to a new time or location
- When you need to give your reader a break or rest
- When you want to create a dramatic effect