Author Topic: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks  (Read 148 times)

Lex

Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« on: November 07, 2018, 09:36:16 AM »
I've only recently started adding symbols to denote scene breaks in my paperbacks. Just a basic *   *   *.

Anyway, I've looked and can't find a definitive answer for what to do when the scene break ends up at the very end or very beginning of a page. Leave it as is? Fiddle with the rest of the page spacing so the break ends up nestled between the text like it should be?

Example of the scene break occurring at the end of a page:



I'm wondering what the rule of thumb is... or if there even is one. I'd be especially interested to know if there's a consistent way trad-pubbed books handle this.
 

idontknowyet

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2018, 09:43:23 AM »
I don't know if there is one but there should be. Recently I've read a slew of books that have no scene break but a single extra space. It is a pain in the butt when you get one or two pages into the next one before you realizee its changed.  :HB  :evil2:  :rant
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 10:09:19 AM »
Do you have widow/orphan control turned on? I would think that would take care of the problem.
           
 

Lex

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 10:20:12 AM »
Do you have widow/orphan control turned on? I would think that would take care of the problem.

I think because the scene break ends up being its own paragraph, it isn't impacted by the widow/orphan control.  :icon_think: But I'm not sure, since right now I'm only fiddling with a dummy document. I'll see what happens if I play with one of my actual manuscripts.

Then again, if it can be controlled that way, it would inevitably end up at either the very top or bottom, right? And I'm still not sure which is more desirable.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 10:34:57 AM »
Do you have widow/orphan control turned on? I would think that would take care of the problem.

I think because the scene break ends up being its own paragraph, it isn't impacted by the widow/orphan control.  :icon_think: But I'm not sure, since right now I'm only fiddling with a dummy document. I'll see what happens if I play with one of my actual manuscripts.

Then again, if it can be controlled that way, it would inevitably end up at either the very top or bottom, right? And I'm still not sure which is more desirable.

Widow/orphan controls both the very top and the very bottom.
           
 

Llano

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 11:59:47 AM »
If you are using a symbol as a scene break and it falls at the bottom or top of a page, leave it alone. It is absolutely correct.

Indeed, when using blank lines for scene breaks and the blank line appears at the bottom or top of a page, the proper solution is to substitute a symbol even though all other scene breaks are blank lines. This insures that the blank line doesn't fade into the margin, defeating the purpose of the scene break.

Although they are now almost universal in eBooks, three asterisks are rarely used in paper books by the major publishers. They are probably the worst possible symbol to indicate a scene break, for a variety of reasons. For one, asterisks sit near the top of the line, not the center, so they are never centered vertically. They are also just plain boring. Bullets and various other symbols are generally centered vertically and look better than asterisks.
 
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Maggie Ann

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 01:36:51 PM »
Sometimes I'll use clip art themed to the story. It really stands out and there's no question that it's a scene break.

 :dog1:
           
 

Lysmata Debelius

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2018, 01:53:21 PM »
What Llano said :)
It's not a problem.

I also don't use asterisks for scene breaks. There are some quite nice wingdings (little stars and circles etc) that work very nicely.

Genres: Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction


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Maggie Ann

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2018, 11:39:07 PM »
What Llano said :)
It's not a problem.

I also don't use asterisks for scene breaks. There are some quite nice wingdings (little stars and circles etc) that work very nicely.

Wingdings is a good idea. I used to be able to find good clip art in Word, but now everything is copyrighted. I like to use flourishes, so I've ended up copying the ones I've used in the past.
           
 

Lysmata Debelius

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2018, 11:42:32 PM »
What Llano said :)
It's not a problem.

I also don't use asterisks for scene breaks. There are some quite nice wingdings (little stars and circles etc) that work very nicely.

Wingdings is a good idea. I used to be able to find good clip art in Word, but now everything is copyrighted. I like to use flourishes, so I've ended up copying the ones I've used in the past.

...just don't do what I did and accidentally set an entire paragraph of text as wingdings  :icon_eek:
Luckily I spotted that before exporting the file :)
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction


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Lex

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2018, 02:47:43 AM »
If you are using a symbol as a scene break and it falls at the bottom or top of a page, leave it alone. It is absolutely correct.

Indeed, when using blank lines for scene breaks and the blank line appears at the bottom or top of a page, the proper solution is to substitute a symbol even though all other scene breaks are blank lines. This insures that the blank line doesn't fade into the margin, defeating the purpose of the scene break.

Although they are now almost universal in eBooks, three asterisks are rarely used in paper books by the major publishers. They are probably the worst possible symbol to indicate a scene break, for a variety of reasons. For one, asterisks sit near the top of the line, not the center, so they are never centered vertically. They are also just plain boring. Bullets and various other symbols are generally centered vertically and look better than asterisks.

This is great. Thanks!
 

She-la-te-da

Re: Fussy question about scene breaks when formatting paperbacks
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 10:00:59 PM »
If it's at the very bottom or top, I try to adjust the text so it has at least a line or two either side. I use a symbol other than asterisks, too. Asterisks are okay in ebooks, because you have to pay delivery charges and if you have lots of scenes, it will add up quickly. But in print? Yeah. Put something pretty there. :D
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.