The basic rule of a paragraph is that we break a paragraph when there’s a change of subject; a new idea is introduced, a new person speaks, the time shifts. This doesn’t mean that paragraphs are purely functional we can also use them to speed or slow the reader’s pace; a long paragraph slows the pace, a short paragraph speeds it up and for really quick fire we can go down to a line or a word. But it’s best to start with the basics.
If we’re going to go right to the basics of a narrative prose paragraph the most obvious paragraph break is the dialogue break. So we might have two characters speaking, Jane and Ted, and each time the speaker changes we have a new paragraph:
‘How’re you?’ said Jane.
‘I’m fine,’ said Ted.
This is the easy bit when we only have the dialogue and attribution…
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