1. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    Seperating Scenes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by -NM-, Apr 14, 2009.

    Sometimes you see scenes in the same chapter seperated by an extra line, and sometimes by something like a star, eg:

    line of text.

    *

    Line of text.

    My question is thus:

    Does it matter which you use? Are they for different things? Eg: Changing a point of view, or moving forward in time but not to a new chapter, etc...
     
  2. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    I've seen Kurt Vonnegut and Haruki Murakami using * * *'s a lot, and from what I've seen, not only do they separate scenes, but they can also open up a rift in the space time continuum and allow you to insert some valuable information, like when the character is doing one thing and you need to take a second to explain the situation, like as in a pause or break in the story.
     
  3. vanhunks
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    vanhunks Member

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    Section breaks are important to separate scenes. I usually use the * in my own stories, but from the novels [Like Phillip Roth in "I married a communist"] I've read over the years, most just use a space to indicate a change of scene or point of view.

    vanhunks
     
  4. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    IF you like to abide by rules. The *** or whatever usually defines a break when its at the bottom or top of the page. (so you can tell) Ussually one should just have a spaced gap to change scene or pov when in middle of page.

    However some authors use the little squiggle all the time, if thats works from them, then hey go ahead.

    Myself I dont tend to add squiggles Why? I sometimes have slight scene breaks without a POV change and the squiggle seems to break it up too much. However sometimes i might add a squiggle on a POV change.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Several submission guideline documents I've looked at specify a single line containing three asterisks to separate sections. That is probably a good one to use in your core manuscript, but always check the submission guidelines of the publisher you are submitting to/ The *** standing alone is relatively easy to search and replace if need be.

    However, you don't need to mark every scene transition that way. Only do so if you wish to emphasixze the break, such as the passage of a significant amount of time.
     
  6. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    This. I used to do the *** thing, and then the ~ thing, and even a question mark (?) for one story, but now I just do this.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless a market/publisher you hope to submit to has a preference, simply using a centered # will suffice.

    Some publishers, especially ezines, will insert their own break design/marks--if any, in print publishers have their own or simply a space between the single-lined text.

    If you are consistent, the editor what works for the publisher where you sold your work will use what is standard for that house.

    Terry
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto what terry said!... the ms format standard is the single # placed in the center of the line with no empty lines before or after it... unless the guidelines for a particular publisher say to use something else, you should stick to the established standard...

    and, btw, you can't know what an author uses, unless you see their ms... what you see in their books is almost always just the publisher's choice... and most publishers don't put any marks in the line breaks...
     
  9. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Well if we don't talk publishers and just talk writers... most writers I know use *** for an indication of a time change and a ~ for a viewpoint change.

    What I've seen with published books, though, is that publishers just create a small empty white space to indicate both a time jump or a viewpoint change...no markings of any kind.

    ~Lynn
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...i've never heard of using two different marks for line breaks and can think of no good reason for doing so... are any of those 'known' writers?...
     
  11. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Off the top of my head I can't think of any books using different breaks for different scene changes, but if your story had a lot of POV changing, using a separate divider for that and normal scene changes seems perfectly reasonable as shorthand of what's happening to the reader.
     
  12. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I use *** for whenever there is a scene change.

    in response to the people above me I've never heard or seen ~ being used for a view point change.
     
  13. David Forbes
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    David Forbes Member

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    I use *** to designate scene breaks. When typeset, my publisher just eliminated them unless the break came at the top or bottom of a page.

    In the YA novel I'm polishing up, I used two em-dashes instead of *** out of a sense of boredom, I guess. I don't think the use of one thing over another is going to make the difference between acceptance or rejection. ***, ~, #, or whatever are probably all fine.

    Dave
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true, but most seasoned writers will use the standard #... so, if you use other stuff, you risk being seen by some agents/editors as an amateur...

    ...i doubt it will seem 'reasonable' to most publishers... and even the agents you submit the ms to may do a lot of eye-rolling...
     
  15. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    The publishing industry is that pointlessly set on one (demonstratively occasionally non-ideal) format? Great. -_-
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No matter what your opinion of the manuscript conventions (many of which date back at least to the days of the typewriter jockey), you are well-advised to learn and abide by them.

    I apologize if it sounds like scolding, but it really makes no sense to gripe about manuscript standards. It's like pissing into a stiff wind.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to that!

    if you don't like the current ms format mandates, just buy out all the publishers and change the rules 'n regs to suit you...
     
  18. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Everytime I sent Maia something, she hounded me about MS format, so now I type everything in standard format, including using the pound symbol for line breaks.

    However, I don't add double spacing until I plan to send it somewhere because it is harder for me to read.

    Interestingly enough, it is easier for me to catch mistakes using courier font.
     
  19. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Whatever happened to being the change you wanted to see in the world? :rolleyes:
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ever hear of tilting at windmills?

    Following a standard can be tedious. But it beats the alternative of utter chaos, and the ambiguity that arises as a result.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    those words of wisdom were meant to refer to changing what is harmful in the world, not just little harmless things that annoy you, that are common practice [and/or rules 'n regs of a field in which you want to succeed]...
     

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