Jill Williamson reports:
"Have you ever been reading a book and noticed that sometimes a break in a scene is depicted by asterisks or some other fancy symbols, and sometimes there is only a wide space before a new scene begins? What’s the difference between the two, and how do you know which to use?...A scene break is when you hit enter (or return) three times, in a double-spaced document, leaving two blank lines between one section of text and the next section of text. A scene break is a separation between related scenes. It's used to indicate time passing or a change of location that continues in the same scene...A section break is made by hitting enter to leave one blank line, centering three asterisks on the next line, hitting enter to leave another blank line, [and] then hitting enter to type the next paragraph. A section break is used to indicate a complete scene break or a character point of view change...Starting a new chapter can be another way of beginning a completely new scene--though some use chapter endings as cliffhangers, cutting the scene in the middle. This is really clever, and I highly recommend you do it when you can. But starting a new chapter at the end of a scene can be a good thing too, especially if your story has been moving along, super fast-paced, and you need to give your reader a breather...[I]t doesn't matter whether you use three asterisks or four or whether you tab in between them or not. But don't add your own cool graphics...[A]dding pretties to your manuscript is a red flag for an editor or agent that screams, 'We've got an amateur writer here!' So, follow the definitions above and use proper scene and section breaks, or use asterisks for both...As long as you're consistent in what you do in this area, editors and agents won’t be bothered."
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