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Old 04-05-2011, 11:14 AM   #1
ghostyjack
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Scene Breaks - Using more than one type

I'm wondering if there is ever a reason to use more than one type of scene break in a book.

e.g. Have a large gap separating the last paragraph of the previous scene from the start of the next scene and having, say, an asterisk between other scenes.

If so, can anyone explain to me the reason behind it?
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ghostyjack View Post
I'm wondering if there is ever a reason to use more than one type of scene break in a book.

e.g. Have a large gap separating the last paragraph of the previous scene from the start of the next scene and having, say, an asterisk between other scenes.

If so, can anyone explain to me the reason behind it?
In printed books it's not unusual to have just some blank spaces normally, and some asterisks when the break happens to fall at the end or beginning of a page.

But there could be some other meaning that could depend on the book and author. For example, a different scene break could be used when a day passes, or when the main character changes, or when there is a flashback...

Last, but not least, some books are just inconsistent and sloppy.
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:55 AM   #3
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Oh wonderful.

Is other words, unless I know the mind of the author, I may not know what different scene breaks they originally intended.

It looks that I'll need to carefully read the book and then try and figure out if the different scene breaks are just the result of them being scanned from the original text or actually mean something different.

Oh well.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:34 AM   #4
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Unless there's some good reason for a wee logo between scenes, Jack (I've used several, including kangaroos and lightning strikes and a Greek letter), the best way is to stick to simple print industry format (unless you're using different layout for an ebook, of course.

*First line of a chapter or scene tight to left margin. Following paragraphs consistently indented.

*Line break (max two) between sections within a chapter. No other separation device necessary. That's the text designer's job.

You can find a little more detail on layout if you go to the 'For Authors' section of our website, linked below.

If you're talking print, just pull a couple of paperbacks from your shelves and take special note of layout. If you're working ebook with all paragraph opening lines tight to left and a space between pars, you'd have to leave more space or use a device like three or four asterisks. Whatever, keep in clear and as simple as pos.

Good luck and best wishes. Neil
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Unless there's some good reason for a wee logo between scenes, Jack (I've used several, including kangaroos and lightning strikes and a Greek letter), the best way is to stick to simple print industry format (unless you're using different layout for an ebook, of course.

*First line of a chapter or scene tight to left margin. Following paragraphs consistently indented.

*Line break (max two) between sections within a chapter. No other separation device necessary. That's the text designer's job.
I must respectfully disagree, Neil. A line break to indicate a scene change works absolutely fine in a printed book, but it doesn't work in an eBook. Suppose the scene break happens to fall at the end of the page; how will the reader know that the space he sees is a scene change and not the normal end of the page?

I think that some visual indication of a scene change (eg centred asterisks) is essential in an eBook, personally.
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:17 PM   #6
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I must respectfully disagree, Neil. A line break to indicate a scene change works absolutely fine in a printed book, but it doesn't work in an eBook. Suppose the scene break happens to fall at the end of the page; how will the reader know that the space he sees is a scene change and not the normal end of the page?
I often use a "margin-top: 2em" after a scene break, this is not lost after a normal page break[*], and the reader still sees some blank space on top of the page.

[*] Depending on the software, it might be lost after a forced page break, and some other trick should be used (like padding instead of margin).
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:33 AM   #7
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I have made a css class named div.divider – it's just a centered div in a slightly larger font-size with slightly larger margin-top and margin-bottom to create a little bit of extra white space... it usually has just 5 asterisks but I have sometimes used small logo-style illustrations to make the break-points more obvious or when the trailing subject is radically different.
I agree that you need something in an ebook because you can't predict where it will fall on the page. And it's amazing how many times it appears at the top of a new page!
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:33 AM   #8
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***I must respectfully disagree, Neil. A line break to indicate a scene change works absolutely fine in a printed book, but it doesn't work in an eBook. Suppose the scene break happens to fall at the end of the page; how will the reader know that the space he sees is a scene change and not the normal end of the page?***

Thanks, Harry: but as I say above, I was advising re print layout and that if the OP is talking ebook (it didn't specify, and Jack merely writes of 'book') another method should be applied -- as per your own excellent advice. Cheers. Neil
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