1. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    Moving from one scene to another

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nervous1st, Sep 3, 2009.

    The current novel I'm reading moves from one scene to another by leaving a line between paragraphs. On the contrary, I have been working hard at trying to blend the scenes together, but it's proving difficult to keep interesting. I have been googling and reading up on this today and it seems it's fairly acceptable to simply leave a space to indicate a scene change.

    Also, I am having trouble when there are weeks between scenes. I feel the need to fill in the blanks for the reader when it's actually quite boring.

    Can I ask what do you do? I know every one is different but any thoughts are appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  2. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    As far as scene changes, it was always my understanding that a scene change is indicated thus:

    ***​

    Like so. At least that's what Orson Scott Card said in his book on character and POV.

    For the other thing, large timeskips in between scene, I think if there's that great a distance between them you should start a new chapter, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I don't know what books you've read so I can point out examples of how those authors handled it. I'd recommend you pull out 3 favorite books and see exactly how the scene changes were handled.
     
  4. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    I think it differs from author to author. My favorite author James Patterson uses really short chapters to make scene changes. But the short chapters can be for a multitude of other reasons but it helps. I have also adopted this style but i think it varies, i've seen double line spaces, the three asterix Smithy mentioned, simple periods in the middle of the page. I'd take marina's advice if you still can't decide.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    My understanding was that scene changes were indicated by a line break, with asterisks used only when such a line break would fall at the bottom of a page, to clarify the scene change.
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I had an English teacher in high school who was also a professional writer. I still remember him looking over a piece I was very proud of and saying, "You'd be a very boring god." I did what anyone else would do, I nodded, pretended I understood what he was saying, and scanned my paper for the grade. He didn't let it go at that. "God knows everything," he continued, "but he doesn't always share it all. Why? Probably because life would be boring if he did or he just doesn't get cable. When you write your story, throw everything into it. Once it is finished, focus on the plot itself and anything that isn't essential - toss. Let your characters and readers fill in a few blanks if they care so much. In most cases they won't, like us they'll be happy if, at the end of it all, God lets things work out."

    Hope it helps,

    ~R
     
  7. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    Technically scene changes within the chapter should be cut off with or rather POV changes:

    ***

    However again it is personal preference. I only use the above aterixes when it is a heavy switch for the reader. For instance, to pass a long time or a heavy POV change. I base it on a feeling really. Heavy switch, light switch. Sometimes the three asterixes break up the flow too much.

    Great book, everyone should read. :)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A section break is indicated in manuscript by a line containing a single centered # sign. In print, these are usually indicated by a blank line, or three widely spaced marks (or some other graphic marker) if the break falls on a page boundary. However, that is only for the published piece, NOT for a manuscript.

    Don't confuse this kind of section break with the section break in Microsoft Word, which is usually used to separate chapters, or to change the numbering scheme or header/footer content.

    A section break separates scenes within a chapter, but not every scene transition needs to be marked with a section break. Some transitions flow well enough from the narrative that no visual break is necessary or even desirable. But if there is a discontinuity in time, or a POV change along with a change of setting, you should probably insert a section break.
     
  9. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    A book can be written with a hundred scenes and no breaks. The breaks are at the writer’s discretion.

    For instance: Bob goes to school and kids make fun of him and dunk his head in the toilet. Then he’s eating breakfast with his mom that calls him Dummy Dum. Between these two scenes the writer can either make a break or just write something like “The next morning Bob sat at the kitchen table…” so the reader knows the scene has changed and time has passed.
     
  10. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I have read novels that use this a lot. Vonnegut uses them a ton. I rather enjoy it. He truly gets to the point.
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Yeah a single spaced pound sign.
    #
    Like so.

    When it comes to time lapses, you can simply say, three weeks later, but there are more clever ways of going about it.
     
  12. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    For example?
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    For example: Let's say 30 days passes between scenes or chapters.

    One chapter leaves off talking about how there is this really cool party on Halloween, a month from then. The next chapter starts with them at the Halloween party. The reader figures out that it is a month later, and the author never had to say it was a month later.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In manuscript, everything is double spaced (other than contact information at the beginning). The pound sign for a section break is also double spaced, and preferably horizontally centered.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I know everything is double spaced, but you only click enter once.

    If you set it up as single space
    #
    It looks like this. Then if you switch it to double space

    #

    It will look like this.

    :p I mean, don't hit the enter key more than once.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good explanation, arch...
     

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