1. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Manuscript Stylizations

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Annûniel, Apr 18, 2011.

    I could use some advice or reassurance on a matter of acceptable finished manuscript stylizations. I understand that a manuscript should be free of an author's stylizations even those that appear in published books and that it is important to be consistent throughout the piece. However, being consistently wrong throughout the manuscript is something I would like to avoid.

    My current piece is told in third-person limited with multiple POVs. Most of the time, the POV changes take place at chapter breaks but there is sometimes a scene change within a chapter that also includes a POV change. Most chapters also contain more than one scene, although the POV doesn't always change. Currently, I have been entering a blank line between scene changes where the POV stays the same. If there is also a POV change, I center some asterisks on a blank line.

    I am consistent with this throughout the entire piece, but I wonder if it's necessary. It becomes clear in the writing whose POV I am telling the scene through, so should all scene changes be a blank line? Or is that not even necessary?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there should be no blank lines in the ms other than between chapters...

    for scene/time/pov switch line breaks, a single # placed in the center of the line is the standard format... there should be no breaks treated differently...

    drop the asterisks and stick to the # for all line breaks... and don't break the text unless it's really necessary...
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The standard for a section break is a single centered # on a line by itself. No preceding or following blank lines, because a manuscript is typed double-spaced anyway. Extra blank lines would be too much.

    Resist the urge to decorate your manuscript with font changes. You'll only annoy the submissions editor.
     
  4. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks! I'm glad I asked. This was the only thing I was doing fortunately.

    @ maia. What are you referring to when you said there should be blank lines between chapters? I was under the impression that there should be a page break so that each chapter starts at the top of the page. Are you saying that the manuscript should not have page breaks for chapters and instead have a blank line?
     
  5. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    The # was the traditional symbol to indicate to the typesetters there would be a space, btw, if curious. We don't exactly use typesetters anymore, but for working drafts or text-file submissions, definitely use the symbol, as unmarked scene breaks can get lost in formatting or editing when they end up falling on a page break, too.

    If you're submitting a hard copy, then remove the symbol unless the scene break is on page break, at which point you'll need to indicate it since there's no other way to tell (outside of context). It's not exactly a bad thing if you leave in all pound signs, but a hard copy is a formatted draft, and it at least shows you know your stuff (and isn't going to get confusing since it's formatted and printed). If a place requests a PDF or fixed-format electronic version, I'd personally go with the formatted style, but again keeping in all the #'s will never be wrong in a working draft.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i was merely referring to the fact that blank lines will naturally result when going to a new page for a new chapter...
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've read published work that changes POV mid-paragraph, or even mid-sentence. If you do it well, I don't think it is a problem.

    I concur with what has been said above about handling breaks :)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Very few writers do a good job of switching POVs mid-scene. Frank Herbert is one, but his son has failed miserably trying to mimic his father's style in that regard.

    I can't recommend it. POV transitions are tricky enough; why set yourself up for failure?

    The time to play the long odds are after you have established yourself through good, solid writing.
     
  9. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ maia. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I've been a bit tired & sickly for a few days and haven't been thinking as clearly. :-D

    @ Steerpike. I never meant to imply that changing POVs within a scene can't be done, but I am not comfortable enough to do it just yet. I've read it done poorly too many times to really want to jump into that lake right now. I also consider it to be a challenge in itself to stick to one character's POV in a scene where all the characters who have "voice" in the story are present.

    One last question, is there any acceptable method of showing a break in two "parts" of a book? This piece also contains two parts within the same story (they take place a few years apart). Should I just throw in a line above the Chapter number that says Part Two when the story transitions from Part One to Part Two?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's ok, as long as you titled the first part 'part one'... it's done all the time... some authors call the parts 'book one' etc., some call them 'part'...
     
  11. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds good. Thanks maia! :)
     

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