TIPS Re-Boot

Along with starting up my blog again, I am revisiting the concept of blogging TIPS for new writers and others who find them useful. Eventually these TIPS will be collected and made available as a separate document.

The writing group I’m in accepts writers of all levels. This can include teenagers who’ve decide they want to be a poet or adults who have decided they have a story to tell to septuagenarians who either wish to leave their sage advice behind or write that racy love story/mystery/ science fantasy they’ve always wanted to write.  Any of the above people can be new to writing, so we often find ourselves starting at the beginning with our advice, or even fundamental explanations.

One time we found it necessary to clear up what constitutes a paragraph. For coaches, parents, or teachers who are trying to get the concept across, here’s a simple explanation of paragraphs.

[note: in fairness to subscribers and readers, this information appeared in a post here in 2018. I’ve re-posted it in its entirety for readers’ convenience.]


3 Basic Rules for Starting New Paragraphs

Okay, so you want to write – a book, a story, an essay – whatever you want to write. But you have ZERO experience.  

You know pages have words on them, and they seem to be broken up into patterns called paragraphs, but how do you know when to do that? Here are the beginning rules. Use them to get started writing your work the way it should be written.

1. Begin a new paragraph whenever you change speakers .

This means, in dialogue, one person says something, then another one says something.

Each time this happens, each time the speaker changes, they get a new paragraph all to themselves, and their spoken words are contained in quote marks (BONUS tip there)

2. Begin a new paragraph whenever you change topic.

You begin your essay by describing the outside of your house. Then you want to move on to describing the inside of it. Make a new paragraph for the inside description. When you want to describe what the back yard looks like, that is another new paragraph.

3. Begin a new paragraph when it feels like one is needed.

This can be for a pause, a change of direction in the action, or just to change theme or thought, much like a change of topic.

You may have spent some time describing how you felt when the ambulance arrived. Then the EMT has you move into the ambulance, and you need to describe how you felt – maybe more physically than emotionally -, and what the inside of the ambulance looked like.

The arrival is one paragraph, the move into the ambulance is a second, and the description of the interior is a third.

Most of all, watch for these things in your reading. As you identify them in what you read, it will be easier for you to remember to use these tips in your writing.


‘ta