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Insights From World of Shem Part 7

In this issue I will speak on scenes.

As I have worked on my books over the years I have come across different ideas about writing scenes. The discussion usually centers around opening, middle, and end of scene, all critical areas. But one area that doesn’t get much attention is separation.

What Is Separation?

Here I am talking about separating one scene from another. The closing scene may or may not introduce you to another scene. If the new scene involves a different character then the last scene probably won’t introduce it.

But whether introduced or not there is a need for a clear break between the two scenes. Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly discovered that you were in a different scene without warning. Suddenly you’re confused as to who is talking, what is being talked about, what action is taking place, and where it is taking place. To say you’re confused is an understatement!

One of my earlier books printed by a publisher other than T&R removed all my separation symbols leaving readers confused. It really left me looking like an amateur and the reader less than satisfied. Having a separation of scenes is extremely important.

How Do I Separate Scenes?

In general there are probably 100s of methods to separate scenes, but as a reader there are a few that have stood out. Here are a few examples:

[ blank space ] = Some authors simply place a larger than normal blank space between the closing paragraph of one scene and the opening paragraph of a new scene. This is simple and generally effective. However, I find when reading such books that it is easy to overlook the white space. Our eyes may choose to skip the space due to our interest in the book. We may also assume a printers’ error and skip.

[ *** ] Three or more asterisks are an effective way to separate scenes. The eyes will pick them up and the reader will know what they mean. I tend to put my symbols in the middle of the page, but that is really up to you.

[ &&& ] Three or more ampersands work well, also. Again, I find putting them in the middle a very effective move.

[ ### ] Here you have three or more pound or number signs as the symbols. Once again I would place them in the middle.

[ ……. ] I have used seven dots as a separator. The reason for using seven instead of three is that three dots ( … ) can mean that text (from another document) has been only quoted in part. It can send the wrong signal. So seven dots is what I would prefer.

There are numerous ways to separate, but the above are my favorite. The key is to find the symbol you want and consistently use it throughout the book. You might think that using several symbols will look good, but there is the danger of distracting the reader.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem (Book Three), but Perished The World That Was (Book One), and World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two). If you would like to review any of these books contact me at with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review World of Shem.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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