Have you ever read a college student narrative the was written as one lengthy paragraph? understanding when come make new paragraphs comes normally to some students, yet not others. This write-up goes over five rules come teach. Begin by downloading and install the teaching products for this lesson.

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Paragraphs Rule 1 – TOPIC CHANGE

Just as in composing nonfiction, start a new paragraph as soon as a brand-new topic bring away place. If the writer describes the setup and move on to describe the character’s thoughts or reactions to the setting, produce a new paragraph. Here are some instances from literature:

Stone Fox

Like the time grandfather dressed up together the scarecrow the end in the garden. That took small Willy an hour to catch on. Boy, walk they laugh. Grand laughed so hard he cried. And when he cried his moustache filled up v tears. (This i tells about a time once Willy and Grandfather had fun.)

Grandfather constantly got increase real beforehand in the morning. So early that it was still dark outside. He would make a fire. Then he would certainly make breakfast and call little Willy. “Hurry increase or you’ll be eating with the chickens,” he would certainly say. Then he would throw his head ago and laugh. (This new paragraph plainly changes to another example.)

Once tiny Willy went ago to sleep. When he wake up up, he found his plate out in the chicken coop. It was picked clean. He never slept late again ~ that. (The punch line that the joke is in a paragraph by itself for emphasis.)

The City of Ember

The desks were i ordered it in four rows that six, one behind the other. In the last heat sat a slender girl called Lina Mayfleet. She to be winding a strand of her long, dark hair about her finger, winding and also unwinding that again and also again. Periodically she plucked at a subject on she ragged cape or bent end to traction on she socks, which were loose and often tended to slide down around her ankles. One of her feet tapped the floor softly. (This paragraph explains Lina, among the key characters.)

In the 2nd row was a boy called Doon Harrow. The sat through his shoulders hunched, his eyes squeezed shut in concentration, and his hand clasped strictly together. His hair looked rumpled, together if he hadn’t combed it because that a while. He had actually dark, thick eyebrows, i m sorry made him look significant at the best of time and, when he was anxious or angry, came together to type a right line across his forehead. His brown corduroy jacket was so old that its ridges had actually flattened out. (This paragraph describes Doon, one more main character.)

Both the girl and the young were making urgent wishes. Doon’s great was very specific. He recurring it over and over again, his lips moving slightly, as if he could make that come true by speak it a thousand times. Lina to be making she wish in pictures rather than in words. In her mind’s eye, she saw herself running through the highways of the city in a red jacket. She do this photo as bright and also real as she could. (This paragraph compares the wishes of Lina and also Doon.)

Paragraphs dominion 2 – setup CHANGE-SKIPPING come A brand-new TIME OR A new PLACE

Remember that setup includes both time and also place. If the story shifts from one ar to one more or one time come another, start a brand-new paragraph. Scenes typically take location in one location. When the ar changes, this means a new scene is around to take it place. 

Look because that time clues:

They waited and also waited.An hour later,The next afternoon,At the eleventh hour…A main passed.The secs seemed choose hours.Once in a blue moon…In the months the passed,

Look for place clues:

Meanwhile, back at…In Brooklyn,They moved around Chicago…It was challenging to carry the wide load down the narrow street.Across native the hospital,They boarded the plane,The home was situated…The taxi zipped with traffic.


The Giver

It was virtually December, and Jonas was start to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened intended that deep, sickening emotion of miscellaneous terrible about to happen. Frightened was the method he had felt a year back when one unidentified aircraft had overflown the neighborhood twice. He had actually seen that both times. Squinting towards the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, walk past, and a 2nd later heard the blast that sound the followed. Climate one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the exact same plane. (This paragraph starts the story. It describes an occasion that fearful Jonas.)

At first, he had been only fascinated. He had never viewed aircraft for this reason close, for it was against the rules for Pilots to fly over the community. Occasionally, once supplies were delivered by cargo planes come the landing field throughout the river, the kids rode their bicycles to the riverbank and also watched, intrigued, the unloading and then the takeoff directed to the west, constantly away native the community. (A new paragraph is made to define what is common in Jonas’s community. A change takes ar from the previous to the present.)

But the aircraft a year back had to be different. The was no a squat, fat-bellied cargo plane but a needle-nosed single-pilot jet. Jonas, looking about anxiously, had actually seen others—adults as well as children—stop what they were doing and wait, confused, for an explanation that the horrible event. (A new paragraph is developed to go earlier to explicate the event that took location in the past. Another time change takes place.)

Paragraphs Rule 3 – IN DIALOGUE when A new CHARACTER SPEAKS

Each time a different character speaks, produce a new paragraph. Keep in mind that this is additionally true with thoughts. If the narrator is describing the thoughts of one character and also a different character speaks or has his or her thoughts described, begin a new paragraph.


“What space you talking about?” ns said. (Auggie)

Mom looked surprised, prefer she hadn’t intended for me to hear that. (Narrator defines Mom.)

“You need to tell him what you’ve to be thinking, Isabel,” Dad said. He to be on the various other side the the life room talking to Christopher’s dad. (Dad)

“We should talk around this later,” stated Mom. (Mom)

“No, I desire to understand what girlfriend were talking about,” ns answered. (Auggie)

“Don’t girlfriend think you’re prepared for school, Auggie?” mother said. (Mom)

“No,” ns said. (Auggie)

“I don’t, either,” said Dad. (Dad)

Paragraphs Rule 4 – TO break UP long NARRATIVES right into PARAGRAPHS

If a character offers a long speech, the is easier for the leader if the dialogue is broken up.

Teaching moment – Encourage student to break up long bits of narration v action. For example, if a flashback is acquisition place, have the character come ago to the present, define what is taking place, and then go ago to the flashback.

Gary Paulsen is a grasp at storytelling. He regularly breaks the ethics of writing v sentence fragments and also other unconventional methods. Many brief paragraphs save his writing sounding urgent. Ns have contained an excerpt from Hatchet not to highlight paragraph breaks however to present how a flashback deserve to be interrupted with existing events.


Now Brian sat, looking out the window with the roar thundering with his ears, and tried to catalog what had actually led up to his taking this flight. The thinking started. Constantly it started with a solitary word. Divorce.

It to be an ugly word, the thought. A tearing, ugly word that intended fights and also yelling, lawyers—God, that thought, just how he hated lawyers that sat v their comfortable smiles and tried to define to him in legal terms exactly how all that he stayed in was comes apart—and the breaking and also shattering of every the hard things. His home, his life—all the hard things. Divorce. A break word, one ugly break word…

When he experienced Brian look at him, the pilot seemed to open up a bit and he smiled. “Ever paris in the copilot’s chair before?” that leaned over and lifted the headset off his best ear and put it on his temple, yelling to overcome the sound of the engine…

But the pilot had actually put his headset earlier on and the gratitude was shed in the engine noise and things went ago to Brian looking the end the window at the s of trees and lakes. The burning eye did no come back, however memories did, come flooding in. The words. Constantly the words.


The Secret.

Paragraphs Rule 5 – because that EFFECT

Use a i break to emphasize vital point, because that a laugh, to journey a message, or get some advantage.

 Look again at the earlier examples. In the Stone Fox example, a new paragraph starts when the narrator provides the beat line.

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Also, look at the Hatchet excerpt. An alert the word “Divorce.” and also the phrase “The Secret.” room in paragraphs by themselves. This stresses your importance.