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formatting manuscript for submission

re: The Best Way to Signal a Scene Break?

in Formatting/Punctuation/Grammar by

Dear Editor…

A manuscript formatting question for you: Is there a standard way to indicate a space between scenes so that readers know the space is intentional? I’ve seen * and # used. Is one better than the other?

Thanks,
CC

Dear CC…

There’s no industry preference regarding ornaments that signal scene breaks. Pick one that makes you happy. That said, I recommend something understated so you don’t distract editors from your fab content. Plus, cutsey things like the Wingdings 2 scissors image can create a subtle impression of unprofessionalism. No matter your specific choice, do use something. Often, manuscripts I receive for editing lack these visual signals, and in almost every case I experience at least one moment of confusion when a scene break lands at the bottom of a page. That might not have been the placement of the break when the author sent me the document, but my editing lengthens and shortens chapters unpredictably. Don’t do that to your future editor. Insert ornaments while you draft as a matter of course.

Happy writing!
The Editor

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