1. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    Prose pause

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lameri, Nov 18, 2011.

    I know this is a matter of style but would like to hear your preferences.

    How do you separate scenes in creative writing? What about jumps in time/space? Do you have categories (for example: one blank line for different scenes, two blank lines for jumps in time)? When I move slowly in time, I don't need many blank lines (assuming I use them to separate topics/scenes), but when I move fast, sometimes I have only one paragraph about a certain topic, so I end up using a lot of blank lines between paragraphs. I wonder if I should get rid of them, and reserve them for big shifts in the narrative.
    Thanks.
     
  2. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Only two types of breaks: the chapter break and the scene break. The scene break is just one line that should be empty except for a centered pound sign (#) in manuscripts. I don't think there's any two-line breaks or three-line breaks.

    I'd use them only for majorish changes in time or space, or for changes in POV. It's up to your discretion what constitutes a "majorish change." But each writer has his or her own feel for when you need one of these breaks. Sometimes you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis, and others aren't necessarily the best judges of your story.

    For instance, a guy on his way to work could meet with an old girlfriend and have a discussion. You'd skip the rest of his trip and pick up again when he arrives at work. But I wouldn't use a "scene change" even if it's a jump in time ("ten minutes later") and space (he's on the bus and then, a paragraph later, he's at work) since it's part of the same flow, just with the boring chunk missing. But if the guy wakes up the next day, it's a break. That's my opinion.

    The only constant is, if you change POVs, use a break. I've read books that use no breaks, but I find those authors less trustworthy about letting me know what's going on when we're head-jumping.
     
  3. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Just a single break. I use it when there is a large leap in time, change of POV, or something along those lines.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, two or three-line breaks aren't acceptable... only a single line with a single # placed in the center, as noted above...

    chapter breaks have no symbol between them, the next chapter beginning 1/3 or 1/2 the way down the next page...
     

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