Questions: Scene breaks

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Chris533 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:46 pm

Jeremyteg wrote:
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*



I recently friended Dave on Facebook, and then unfriended him due to my PARANOIA ABOUT ANONYMITY.

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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby MattDovey » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:18 am

A note on word counts and the contest... Dave sometimes says that he counts by the old fashioned method that produces counts up to 20% higher, but unfortunately (for us) the contest pays the per-word rate by the word processor count. If and when they ever get in touch to send me an extra $108 I will be sure to let you know, but as it stands I would recommend you go by your word processor count, despite Dave's curiously old fashioned tip.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Chris533 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:55 am

MattDovey wrote:A note on word counts and the contest... Dave sometimes says that he counts by the old fashioned method that produces counts up to 20% higher, but unfortunately (for us) the contest pays the per-word rate by the word processor count. If and when they ever get in touch to send me an extra $108 I will be sure to let you know, but as it stands I would recommend you go by your word processor count, despite Dave's curiously old fashioned tip.


Sounds like Dave is just trying to cut down on the words he has to read! wotf001

This touches on another question I had -- I thought I read on some winner's blogs that you don't only get the prize money, but also paid to have your story in the book. I thought they said you get an additional $500, but then if your word count was high enough you'd not get the 6 cents per word SFWA requires for credit as professional. So do they pay a word count rate, or lump sum, or...? (And, if they're paying you $108, wouldn't that be 1,800 words? Was your piece flash fiction?)
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:58 am

Chris,
I believe he said an extra $108.
So maybe $1000 plus $108 because of word count.
Then the grand prize.

Matt pretty much cleaned up.

And he has a cool accent...
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby KD Julicher » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:07 am

Chris533 wrote:
Jeremyteg wrote:
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*



I recently friended Dave on Facebook, and then unfriended him due to my PARANOIA ABOUT ANONYMITY.

I'll refriend him as soon as I win! wotf001



Don't worry about that. As long as you're not using your story's title or talking about it in too much detail, you'll be fine. I'm friends with Dave on FB and interact with him, and it hasn't hurt my anonymity.

Though I think Jeremy's paranoia is due to that fact that he won first place, is up for the grand prize, and needs to maintain anonymity. So he's one of four stories going to all the contest judges and yeah, length or genre info could well un-anonymize him.
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Re: Questions: Scene and chapter-breaks

Postby Chris533 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:25 am

KD Julicher wrote:
Chris533 wrote:
Jeremyteg wrote:
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*



I recently friended Dave on Facebook, and then unfriended him due to my PARANOIA ABOUT ANONYMITY.

I'll refriend him as soon as I win! wotf001



Don't worry about that. As long as you're not using your story's title or talking about it in too much detail, you'll be fine. I'm friends with Dave on FB and interact with him, and it hasn't hurt my anonymity.

Though I think Jeremy's paranoia is due to that fact that he won first place, is up for the grand prize, and needs to maintain anonymity. So he's one of four stories going to all the contest judges and yeah, length or genre info could well un-anonymize him.


Ah - so that explains Jeremy's paranoia. Mine - well - that's just me! I was about to post some detail about one of my stories and caught myself, but then got worried about what if I did post it, and yadda yadda - decided it was just less stressful to just unfriend him. I get his emails which seems to cover much of what he has to say anyway.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby jficke13 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:39 am

Dustin Adams wrote:Chris,
I believe he said an extra $108.
So maybe $1000 plus $108 because of word count.
Then the grand prize.

Matt pretty much cleaned up.

And he has a cool accent...


Never underestimate the value of a cool accent.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby morganb » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:03 am

jficke13 wrote:
Dustin Adams wrote:Chris,
I believe he said an extra $108.
So maybe $1000 plus $108 because of word count.
Then the grand prize.

Matt pretty much cleaned up.

And he has a cool accent...


Never underestimate the value of a cool accent.


Ha ha! And to Matt, WE'RE the ones with the cool accents!
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Ishmael » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:39 am

I used to be told I had a great accent too. Then I asked how it was considered possible for an Englishman to speak English with an English accent. I mean, do we accuse the French of speaking French with a French accent? (I have to concede that my accent nowadays places me somewhere between Windsor and Oxford. I have to alter it deliberately when I'm back in Yorkshire.)
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby amoskalik » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:22 am

Ishmael wrote:I used to be told I had a great accent too. Then I asked how it was considered possible for an Englishman to speak English with an English accent. I mean, do we accuse the French of speaking French with a French accent? (I have to concede that my accent nowadays places me somewhere between Windsor and Oxford. I have to alter it deliberately when I'm back in Yorkshire.)


To those who live in Quebec, the French indeed do speak French with a French accent.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Chris533 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:34 am

Ishmael wrote:I used to be told I had a great accent too. Then I asked how it was considered possible for an Englishman to speak English with an English accent. I mean, do we accuse the French of speaking French with a French accent? (I have to concede that my accent nowadays places me somewhere between Windsor and Oxford. I have to alter it deliberately when I'm back in Yorkshire.)


Oh - good - I've been reading The Secret Garden to my kids, and my wife says I'm pronouncing "Yorkshire" wrong.

Is it 2 syllables - "York-shur" or 3 - "York-shy-er" ?
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby MattDovey » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:55 pm

Chris533 wrote:
MattDovey wrote:A note on word counts and the contest... Dave sometimes says that he counts by the old fashioned method that produces counts up to 20% higher, but unfortunately (for us) the contest pays the per-word rate by the word processor count. If and when they ever get in touch to send me an extra $108 I will be sure to let you know, but as it stands I would recommend you go by your word processor count, despite Dave's curiously old fashioned tip.


Sounds like Dave is just trying to cut down on the words he has to read! wotf001

This touches on another question I had -- I thought I read on some winner's blogs that you don't only get the prize money, but also paid to have your story in the book. I thought they said you get an additional $500, but then if your word count was high enough you'd not get the 6 cents per word SFWA requires for credit as professional. So do they pay a word count rate, or lump sum, or...? (And, if they're paying you $108, wouldn't that be 1,800 words? Was your piece flash fiction?)


Sorry--was not particularly clear with that :) my story was 9000 words, so if Dave's method puts most stories at 20% longer, it should count as 10,800 and thus they owe me for those extra 1,800 words @ 6cpw = $108.

Money you get: the prize money for your quarter placement straight away and 6cpw (i.e. SFWA pro rates) on publication, around gala time. Though I had to chase them for mine. Though that was because they knew already they were going to have to send me the Grand Prize money as well and wanted to do it all as one transaction. I forgave them the delay in the circumstances!

You also get $100 stuffed in your hand to pay the extra baggage fee at the airport, because Joni worked out it was cheaper to buy new suitcases and pack all your contributor copies and trophies into them and let you carry them home than it was to FedEx it all after the fact. So on top of everything else you get, you get a new suitcase too wotf019
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby MattDovey » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:09 am

Dustin Adams wrote:Chris,
I believe he said an extra $108.
So maybe $1000 plus $108 because of word count.
Then the grand prize.

Matt pretty much cleaned up.

And he has a cool accent...


You, sir, are too kind wotf011 though hilariously a commenter on StarShipSofa 503* complained that they couldn't understand my accent, what was it, Irish?

Irish. Even as my bio read in the episode says "Matt Dovey is very tall and very English..."

*fun facts: this is me, a WotF winner, reading a story by Zach Chapman, WotF winner, at a market edited by Jeremy Szal, WotF finalist. We're everywhere!
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Ishmael » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:51 am

Chris533 wrote:
Ishmael wrote:I used to be told I had a great accent too. Then I asked how it was considered possible for an Englishman to speak English with an English accent. I mean, do we accuse the French of speaking French with a French accent? (I have to concede that my accent nowadays places me somewhere between Windsor and Oxford. I have to alter it deliberately when I'm back in Yorkshire.)


Oh - good - I've been reading The Secret Garden to my kids, and my wife says I'm pronouncing "Yorkshire" wrong.

Is it 2 syllables - "York-shur" or 3 - "York-shy-er" ?


It depends who's saying it. The former is almost universal outside Yorkshire and in the West Riding. The latter is often heard in the North and East Ridings. So you're both right. But not in all places.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Wulf Moon » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:04 am

MattDovey wrote:A note on word counts and the contest... Dave sometimes says that he counts by the old fashioned method that produces counts up to 20% higher, but unfortunately (for us) the contest pays the per-word rate by the word processor count. If and when they ever get in touch to send me an extra $108 I will be sure to let you know, but as it stands I would recommend you go by your word processor count, despite Dave's curiously old fashioned tip.


I agree with Matt. I also agree with Ishmael. wotf001

Recently, I tried Dave's method of counting--hey, I'm down for anything that gets you extra money legally. I submitted to a SFWA pro rate paying market, and they bought my story. When I got the check, is was fifty bucks shorter than what I was expecting. Yeah, they redid my word count based on the word processor count. Now what? Do I call them and tell them to read Dave's post and get with the program? Sure, if I want to get my story handed back, and be banned from that publishing house again. Plus, editors talk. So it might not have ended there. So you take the money, say thank you very much, and remember one important fact: in WOTF, Dave is god. Outside WOTF, he's a great guy, a superb writer, and just another editor with his or her own opinions about how to do their jobs. Don't get me wrong, Dave is right, you should be paid by the real estate you take up. It's just that I am in no position to negotiate for a higher price with my plot of land, whereas Dave certainly is, and can get some mileage out of his argument with publishers. wotf008

Now, why I agree with Ishmael, who is on the other side of the teeter totter, but just as valid in his position. In WOTF, Dave IS God with a capital G. He is the gatekeeper. If he believes all submissions should be handwritten in neon pink cursive, you would be wise to consider this, even though contest rules say nothing to the point. Each editor, you will find, comes with their own set of biases, and their own beliefs on how it should be done. Most of the time, you never know the unspoken rules they have. For instance, I wrote a Trek story for the Strange New Worlds contest, a contest I had won in the past, and because I hadn't pro'd out, could enter again. It focused on a girl on Voyager having strange visions. The editor Dean rejected it, and told me later it was a child endangerment story, and he hates child endangerment stories. Who knew? It wasn't in the rules. But he definitely had a strong opinion about the subject, and I could have written the prequel to Dune (I would argue the most successful child endangerment story in our genre) and he wouldn't have bought it. So if an editor, or in this case, contest gatekeeper speaks up about what they expect, we'd be wise to listen.

That said, I've sent plenty of just under 17K wp word counts to this contest. I never said I was wise...

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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Chris533 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:36 am

MattDovey wrote:
Chris533 wrote:
MattDovey wrote:A note on word counts and the contest... Dave sometimes says that he counts by the old fashioned method that produces counts up to 20% higher, but unfortunately (for us) the contest pays the per-word rate by the word processor count. If and when they ever get in touch to send me an extra $108 I will be sure to let you know, but as it stands I would recommend you go by your word processor count, despite Dave's curiously old fashioned tip.


Sounds like Dave is just trying to cut down on the words he has to read! wotf001

This touches on another question I had -- I thought I read on some winner's blogs that you don't only get the prize money, but also paid to have your story in the book. I thought they said you get an additional $500, but then if your word count was high enough you'd not get the 6 cents per word SFWA requires for credit as professional. So do they pay a word count rate, or lump sum, or...? (And, if they're paying you $108, wouldn't that be 1,800 words? Was your piece flash fiction?)


Sorry--was not particularly clear with that :) my story was 9000 words, so if Dave's method puts most stories at 20% longer, it should count as 10,800 and thus they owe me for those extra 1,800 words @ 6cpw = $108.

Money you get: the prize money for your quarter placement straight away and 6cpw (i.e. SFWA pro rates) on publication, around gala time. Though I had to chase them for mine. Though that was because they knew already they were going to have to send me the Grand Prize money as well and wanted to do it all as one transaction. I forgave them the delay in the circumstances!

You also get $100 stuffed in your hand to pay the extra baggage fee at the airport, because Joni worked out it was cheaper to buy new suitcases and pack all your contributor copies and trophies into them and let you carry them home than it was to FedEx it all after the fact. So on top of everything else you get, you get a new suitcase too wotf019


Wow! What a class act! I love being part of this - even if it's just to be submitting.
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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby AndrewDWallin » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:37 am

My stories tend to go long and so I made sure that the one I submitted for Q4 was under the standard manuscript format based word count just to be on the safe side. If my story gets rejected, I want to at least make sure its not rejected for a technical foul.

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Re: Questions: Scene breaks

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:52 am

AndrewDWallin wrote:My stories tend to go long and so I made sure that the one I submitted for Q4 was under the standard manuscript format based word count just to be on the safe side. If my story gets rejected, I want to at least make sure its not rejected for a technical foul.


You might want to read Martin Shoemaker's new thread, Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count! David Farland weighed in while we were talking about this on Facebook.


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