What's The Best Way to Show Scene-Breaks?

In ebooks, even more than print, it’s important to give your reader visual cues when things change.  For this reason, we encourage authors to use vertical whitespace to provide cues for changes in the narrative like scenebreaks.  While vertical whitespace is created differently by file conversion companies than by most writers, you can achieve the same impact by marking your manuscript with something as simple as 3 asterisks in a row. e.g., * * * .  That cues your reader—or your conversion house—that your book has moved forward in time; that a POV has changed, or that the reader has entered a new scene. 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Examples (click to enlarge in a lightbox):

 
 

A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland
Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland

 

As you can see, fleurons, vertical whitespace, and flush-left paragraphs, used alone or in combination, can be very effective. 

 

 

 

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