1. john11
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    john11 Member

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    scene separation

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by john11, Sep 12, 2013.

    Hi and thanks for reading this post.

    What is the best way to start a new scene within a chapter?

    I usually start a new chapter, to start a new scene or to change pov character, but a lot of people use many scenes within a chapter. What is the best way to do this.

    I have seen dots, dashes, asterixes etc, but found this method too obtrusive personally.

    Is it okay to end one scene then begin the next scene immediately, just a paragraph break. What method do you use.

    Many thanks in advance. John.
     
  2. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I don't like the asterisk, dots and dashes either, but the reader still needs demarcation. Personally, I press return three times, rather than twice as I would when changing paragraph. I've no idea whether this is the correct way to do it, I'm still a novice, but I've never had a reader report a problem with it. I think I remember reading somewhere that when preparing a manuscript a hash tag is employed.

    Hmmm... I think this could be quite jarring to a reader. They'll be expecting to read one thing, and end up reading another.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I always do the three spaces between scene changes. It works for me when I'm writing because it's uncluttered.

    However, I understand that submissions for publication will require a different approach. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I suppose it will be easy enough to insert hash marks, if required.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    A hashmark (its official name being an octothorpe) is indeed the correct way to label scene changes when sending off to a publisher. However, if and when your manuscript is accepted, it is possible to state your preference regarding scene changes, although of course, it's the publisher that gets the final say. This is why you can see many methods of scene changes in books. :)
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Correct. And it should be centered.

    Keep in mind that the way a manuscript appears when submitted to an agent or publisher is not the way it appears in published form, and the manner in which the scene separation is indicated will vary, based on the publisher's practices. In my view, it is the least thing you should be concerned about at this point.

    Good luck.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just because I am such a noodge, I feel compelled to point out that the word 'octothorpe' (also octothorp, octatherp, and a variety of other spellings) is generally considered jargon and is, for the most part restricted to the select group associated with Bell laboratories, although that is slowly expanding to other areas, but still connected in some way to the Bell Labs source. There are a number of theories as to the origin of the term, none of them verifiable. But, with the advent of Twitter, the most common identifier is hash tag in the United States, whereas, in Great Britain it is more commonly called a hash key. Still, among older fogies in the U.S. it is still called a number sign or a pound sign.

    . ##
    And, whatever you choose to call it, I've always used two of them, centered, following a double return when changing scene or character POV. Never had any complaints yet but, Ed and Thomas are correct that the preferred is one # centered.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    specifically, the standard scene separation for mss to be submitted to agents and paying publishers is a single # placed in the center of the line between paragraphs... with no empty lines before or after...
     
  8. john11
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    john11 Member

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    Hi. Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

    One last question, i have been googling this all day and cannot find a definitive answer.

    What should i do concerning italics for thoughts. I do this all the time myself personally but is it correct.
    I have tried using times roman, leaving out the quotes, this seems wrong as well, will the reader confuse this for actual speech.
    The more i play around with this the more wrong it seems.

    What do you do?
    Is there a recognised format that publishers look for?
    Would agents reject my work with all those terrible italics everywhere?
    I have one scene where the pov is thinking to himself for several pages. i was told to use italics sparingly. how much can i get away with.

    Many thanks in advance . John.
     

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