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Old 12-08-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
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Scene breaks at page top/bottom

Hi all,

I was wondering how publishers handle scene breaks at the very top or bottom of pages, and how this could be duplicated for epubs.

The issue is that often scene breaks (e.g. the narractive changes location, viewpoint, time etc) are indicated by blank space between paragraphs. However, if this space appears at the very bottom or very top of a page, the reader might not notice right away that the scene has changed. Yet I've never noticed having this trouble in paper printed books, so I assume there is some kind of well-known typographical method for avoiding the problem.

I'm sure I have seen this brought up before on MobileRead but I haven't been able to find the discussion.

Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radius View Post
I was wondering how publishers handle scene breaks at the very top or bottom of pages, and how this could be duplicated for epubs.
I've seen cases where a line or a group of asterisks is used only when the break occurs at a page boundary, otherwise just blank space is used.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:20 PM   #3
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The printed version of "The Lord of the Rings", for example, uses a blank line for a "normal" scene change, but a "*" where it occurs at the foot of a page.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:48 PM   #4
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Hmmm... I'm convinced there must be something I can do with visibility:hidden in order to get this effect, but I can't think of it. Do you guys have a working snippet?
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:52 PM   #5
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Personally, I just use "* * *" (centred) for all scene changes. That's a perfectly common convention in printed books.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Personally, I just use "* * *" (centred) for all scene changes. That's a perfectly common convention in printed books.
I like that method because it works with different reading methods. Even with my own PDFs designed for a 6" screen, I sometimes use reflow when my eyes are tired or I'm reading in dim light.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Personally, I just use "* * *" (centred) for all scene changes. That's a perfectly common convention in printed books.
Yeah, I use these too.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Personally, I just use "* * *" (centred) for all scene changes. That's a perfectly common convention in printed books.
Yep, same here.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radius View Post
Hmmm... I'm convinced there must be something I can do with visibility:hidden in order to get this effect, but I can't think of it. Do you guys have a working snippet?
Unfortunately, I don't think the "visibility" property is supported by ePUB (yet). Besides, I believe telling whether an element is at the bottom or top of a page is outside CSS 2.1 too...
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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It appears we have a consensus.

I prefer just the extra space to indicate scene break as I think it looks more attractive. But after running into two cases where I was momentarily confused when the break happened at a page break, I guess I will start using the asterisks as well. Too bad.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:59 AM   #11
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This might provide you with help concerning this issue. I format my ebooks using my word processor and then use it to generate a PDF for my ereader.

To ensure that the scene heading marker (such as "***" or "- - -") doesn't get end up at the bottom of a page, I make a paragraph style called "Interruption" and apply it to the markers. I then set the style to ensure that anything marked as with the Interruption style will not be separated from the next paragraph. If the marker falls at the bottom of a page, it will automatically be bumped to the next page so it stays with the next paragraph.

I hope that helps.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:15 AM   #12
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In ePUB, you'd do that by applying the CSS style "page-break-after: avoid".
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:24 AM   #13
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Is there anything wrong with having "* * *" at the bottom of a page? I see it there pretty often in printed books!
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:46 AM   #14
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You can even get cute and use something like:

-=oOo=-

or some other attractive string. I've seen this done if the author was feeling energetic.

Regards,
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:28 AM   #15
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For eBooks, I like two blank lines and then a non-indented paragraph to start off the new section. If because the line spaces are at the bottom of the page, it's easy to tell when the page is turned and the next paragraph is not indented.
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