View Full Version : Scene breaks within a chapter. How do you guys format them?
11-17-2010, 02:14 AM
I have a question about scene breaks. I'm not really certain if that's the right thing to call them but that's the best thing I can come up with to get my point across.
Often, when I'm reading a book, I'll come across a space, a wider section, where the scene or characters change within a chapter. Usually, these changes are marked by a wider space in the text. However, when the break happens to fall at the top or bottom of a page, these wider spaces would be hard to see, so they're usually marked with three or four centered asterisks or something similar. The only thing different about these breaks is where they happen to fall on the page.
Now however, in the age of ebooks and ereaders, the idea of a page gets sort of fuzzy. Increase or decrease the size of the text and you never know where a break may fall.
For those of you creating ebooks, what do you usually do for these breaks? Do you just leave space or do you mark the break with some characters? Or, if you're recreating a paper book, do you just do exactly what was done in the original?
11-17-2010, 03:59 AM
I could've sworn I performed a search before posting this but someone PM'd me and pointed out a couple of other threads on this same subject. Thanks anyway guys.
11-17-2010, 07:26 AM
If you snatch any paperback novel from your shelf, Byron, you will find that the first word of a chapter's opening paragraph is kept tight to left margin, all following paragraphs have the opening word consistently indented.
When a new section is introduced within a chapter (what you accurately call a scene break). An extra line space is made and the new section starts with first word of first chapter tight to left margin. This makes the change of scene simply but clearly obvious Occasionally, a publisher might also use a separating divice like the below (but centred). We've recently used, rather than asterisks, a lightning bolt in a book called 'Notes from the Lightning God', a tiny kangaroo in a novel set in the Australian outback, and a quill pen in an upcoming historical fiction about Shakespeare.
Many publishing houses (like my own) follow this traditional print layout in ebook forms as well as in hardback and paperback.
Some, however, (especially self-publishing authors, I notice) opt for a different layout pattern in ebooks, which is a line break between each paragraph with the opening word of all paragraphs tight to left. Just like the presentation of this forum post, for instance.
This means that extra line space or a separation device must be used to define a news section/scene break. And I've noticed in several ebooks I've looked at that, without a separation device, the extra line breaks are easly lost and a chapter becomes a confusing mess.
Personally, I prefer traditional print layour in my ebook reading. After a lifetime of treebooks, there are some aspects of the old technology I like to keep in place. Although I'm happy not to have text fully justified, I much prefer standard layout of chapters and sections as has stood for a century or more after many previous centuries of experimentation to achieve the best form for attractive pages and clear reading.
Best wishes. Neil
11-17-2010, 07:48 AM
By the way, Bryon, if you or anyone else in this thread would like to see what I mean in practice, just drop me an email of your preferred ebook format and reading genre and I'll send you a book traditionally laid out with section breaks without a separating device with our compliments. Or take your pick of a title from the bookstore section of our website, linked below. I also have pre-release ebook copies of 'Shakespeare's Will' due out on Nov 28. Cheers. Neil ntmarrATbewrite.net (use the @ sign, of course)
11-17-2010, 11:57 AM
We've recently used, rather than asterisks, a lightning bolt in a book called 'Notes from the Lightning God', a tiny kangaroo in a novel set in the Australian outback, and a quill pen in an upcoming historical fiction about Shakespeare.
I trust you only had one image file for all your scene breaks - unlike one book from a major publisher which had each break a separate jpeg, each with very slightly different cropping!
11-18-2010, 03:24 AM
I think you mean forced page break?
There're several threads about this topic.
In simple words, you can insert some code like this
That's the forced page break in ePub, works like page break in MS Word.
Never use blank lines to separate pages.
But I don't know to do it for Kindle Mobi.
btw, an ad for my ePub maker,
it can convert Word page break, section break
to ePub perfectly. :) so you needn't worry about this.