Questions: Scene breaks

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Mr. Salvatore
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Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Mr. Salvatore » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:21 am

Hey everyone, I'm a forum- and contest-newbie and have a couple of questions, that may also be relevant for others. :)

I know that scene breaks are done with a centered # in a free line... and as far as I know it's not common to just leave a totally blank line to indicate a somewhat "smaller" break, or is it?

Any insight is appreciated :)
Last edited by Mr. Salvatore on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

kentagions
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby kentagions » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:24 am

Hi Mr. Salvatore, welcome to the Forum,

Thank you for the question.
I adhere to the scene break method you have described. The number sign (hashtag) is an old proofing mark used to indicate that adding a space is necessary (when words were accidentally runtogether) and used to indicate that a blank line should be added when used as you've indicated. I use an asterisk, but that is my own little foible (See Poems for Pleasure).

I use the blank space to help indicate radical passage of time, change of setting, change of POV character (Though very rarely in short fiction) and as a chapter break in short fiction. As a reader, I find that it acts as a literary "turn signal." Most of the time, the hashtag is removed during typesetting. Occasionally in novelette and novella lengths, I have seen the hashtag left in to indicate what would be a chapter in a novel, but this seems more dependent on individual editors and typesetters.

We have some professional readers in the Forum I would be interested in hearing from as well.

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J'nae Rae
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby J'nae Rae » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:18 pm

I use chapters in my longer Novelettes. 10,000 or more words. I don't on anything shorter, I just use the scene break #.

By the way, this type of post would go under "Writing: Craft, Talent, Technique."

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Mr. Salvatore
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Mr. Salvatore » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:04 am

Hi :)

Thank you very much for your comments, kentagions and J'nea!

J'nae, I agree this could go into the "Writing: Craft, Talent, Technique" section.
Last edited by Mr. Salvatore on Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dustin Adams
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Dustin Adams » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:10 am

I've seen winners with "chapters" that are just listed as numbers, but I get queasy when I see them.
I don't know about the judges.

Personally, I stick to the " * " break between scenes.

A short story "should" only have scenes and scene breaks. If it has chapters, it may be too big of a story.
Small difference, but in a short, things should keep moving.

Reading through vol 33, I'm surprised by the short length of these stories. I might even call it a trend...
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Jeremyteg
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Jeremyteg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:41 am

Dustin Adams wrote:Reading through vol 33, I'm surprised by the short length of these stories. I might even call it a trend...


Yeah, it is interesting. I feel like the overall story length was a lot longer in last year's anthology. *REST OF COMMENT REDACTED DUE TO PARANOIA ABOUT ANONYMITY*
Last edited by Jeremyteg on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ishmael
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Ishmael » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:04 am

Do please remember that when the rules say 17,000 words, it doesn't mean 17,000 words as counted by your word processor. DF calculates word count by the printing maxim that a letter page (Courier 12 point) with 1 inch margins top, left and bottom and 1.5 inch margin right gives 250 words. Hence 17,000 words = 68 pages.

He will make exceptions for a brilliant story, but it's probably best not to start by annoying him with excessive length.
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Jeremyteg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:07 am

Ishmael wrote:Do please remember that when the rules say 17,000 words, it doesn't mean 17,000 words as counted by your word processor. DF calculates word count by the printing maxim that a letter page (Courier 12 point) with 1 inch margins top, left and bottom and 1.5 inch margin right gives 250 words. Hence 17,000 words = 68 pages.


Huh, interesting, I didn't know that. *REST OF COMMENT REDACTED DUE TO PARANOIA ABOUT ANONYMITY*
Last edited by Jeremyteg on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kentagions
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby kentagions » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:48 am

Hello again Mr. Salvatore,

Remember that the judges are professional writers. As such, they adhere to accepted formatting that can be found on several websites (Here's a representative from Writer's Digest http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/how-to-submit-short-stories-formatting-basics). The most accepted blank line format is a blank space, a centered # on a line of its own followed by another blank space.

The only formatting rules for the contest can be found in rule 6 of the rules section, but this doesn't include chapter formatting.

We are warned that discussing specific story details can result in anything from disqualification due to publication rules to disqualification due to loss of anonymity. So judges might read these pages. But I have not seen them respond to questions.

One big piece of advice that is often repeated by winners is: "Don't sweat the small stuff." Getting a chap break perfect is not going to make a manuscript and getting it wrong is not going to break it. WotF is a contest for up-and-comers, not seasoned pros. The judges understand this as many of them were once contestants.

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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Jeremyteg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:28 pm

kentagions wrote:We are warned that discussing specific story details can result in anything from disqualification due to publication rules to disqualification due to loss of anonymity. So judges might read these pages. But I have not seen them respond to questions.


This is a good point. I'm going to delete my comments discussing word count, just in case.

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Ishmael
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Ishmael » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:28 pm

Given that there are supposed to be thousands of entries per quarter, it's unlikely that a very general comment about length will be sufficient to identify your entry. In our crit exchange section we regularly give approximate lengths so that people can know what they would be taking on in an exchange.
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AndrewDWallin
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby AndrewDWallin » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Ishmael wrote:Do please remember that when the rules say 17,000 words, it doesn't mean 17,000 words as counted by your word processor. DF calculates word count by the printing maxim that a letter page (Courier 12 point) with 1 inch margins top, left and bottom and 1.5 inch margin right gives 250 words. Hence 17,000 words = 68 pages.


Good to know. And thanks!

For some reason, I got it in my head that the word processor word count was fine for the purposes of the contest.

This makes me feel marginally more confident about my writing. My submissions, so far, have sailed by the limit quite a bit, so hopefully this means that the quick rejections I received were technical fouls and not necessarily due to the quality of my story (though I'm not going to go patting myself on the back just yet, either...)


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