1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Scene Breaks/ Asterisms

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Flying Geese, Aug 12, 2013.

    I am currently making my novel an eBook and I was wondering about the three asterisks that you see to indicate a change in scenes...

    Is it acceptable to use an asterism before and after a scene in one chapter?

    What are some other ways you can use asterisms in your book? I have seen one book where there was like 10 stars instead of the usual three.

    My understanding is that it is used to instantly change scenes in a chapter. How many times are you allowed to change scenes in a chapter before a reader is overwhelmed?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My uninformed opinion:

    I thought it was a hash tag (#) but I don't think the readers care all that much. If you aren't going to stop and start a new chapter on a new page, you can use a wider space, the hash tag, or three asterisks, no one will likely pay much notice.
     
  3. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Good point, Ginger
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    When formatting a manuscript for submission, the hashtag is the proper scene break to use, at least in the sources I've seen. However, I can't think of many published works where it was used. I think it's one of those things that gets replaced with fomething 'fancier' between the editor's desk and the bookshelf.


    Yes, but if you are submititng it for publication, you may want to look at submission guidelines. (However, your post gives me the impression you are self-publishing. If so, do whatever you feel works best.)


    Three asterisks, four asterisks, five asterisks, a line break, a thin black line, a dotted line... you could put just about anything there, as long as it doesn't hurt the story. It's only purpose is to make the reader aware you are changing scenes. I've seen many fantasy works put a little image there, such as a small sword or dagger. I recall reading a horror story collection that had a little ghost or skull there. However, I don't know much about e-book formatting, so I have no idea what effect all those embedded images might have.


    As many times as the story deems necessary. Most of my chapters have two scenes. One of my chapters has about eight, because it is shifting back and forth between two characters.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a single # placed in the center of the line for a line break is the long-accepted professional standard...

    and it's only used in the ms... in the printed book, there will just be a blank line for action/time/location breaks... but you can't leave any lines blank in a ms other than between chapters, thus the mark...
     
  6. AlexanderB
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    AlexanderB New Member

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    I like adding an extra blank line, then beginning the next section with small capitals. Here's mah example:


    [​IMG]
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That won't wash in manuscript. Listen to Mamma.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Don't think there's a limit as to how many times you can use scene breaks within a chapter, but for continuity's sake, it's probably best not to do it overly often. My scenes are typically two or more pages (though there're exceptions, of course).

    I use # to separate my scenes. No blank lines. Just keeping to manuscript standard so I don't have to go back and format a 300-paged file later lol.

    It sounds like you're self-pubbing anyway, in which case, it probably doesn't matter as long as the formatting is clear. But if you're going through an agent, then definitely hash tag (#)
     
  9. AlexanderB
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    AlexanderB New Member

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    No, but it washes in the informal copy. It's more visually appealing to me.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you are only writing for yourself, you can do anything you like. You can write it in your own pictograph alphabet right to left in white crayon, and separate scenes with drawings of three-winged ducks.

    The member who posted the question asked what is acceptable. That only has meaning in the context of standards, particularly submission standards.
     
  11. AlexanderB
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    AlexanderB New Member

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    I write with the intention of publishing and I know that I will have to change my section breaks before submission. The small capitals are more visually appealing to me right now.
     
  12. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    These are some very helpful tips. I like the way your think AlexanderB, but to me (this is just my peculiarity) reading the next line in small caps doesn't obviously indicate a change in scene. I kind of want the change in scene to be as obvious as it is in a movie. Like a 'fade-to-black' ending in one scene and the next scene not really starting with the characters themselves, but a piece of scenery...like the sun shining in the sky with the camera behind some trees as a drop of fresh morning dew rolls down a leaf...
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's not how writing works. And if you write well enough, the scene should wrap itself up and it would be obvious in the tone of writing itself. Maybe you should be thinking of screenplays or directing videos instead? In any case, hash tag is obvious enough - but if you don't mind re-formatting your MS at the end when it's ready for submission, then just use whatever method appeals to you write now. Pick up a book and see how they're formatted - you've read it before and the scene breaks were obvious before - and use that method.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I take it this means there is only one line space between the two sections? The space that contains the hash? I've not studied formatting a MS (yet) and I've obviously got a lot to learn.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes... that's right... for the basics of ms submission format: http://www.shunn.net/format/
     

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