I'm new to professional writing, and I've been brushing up on standard manuscript format. I bought Scrivener to help me format for direct publishing, and standard manuscript formatting. So, how do I tell when I'm supposed start a new scene in the same chapter, or start a new scene in a new chapter?


It's ultimately up to you, but genre and pacing may influence where you place your chapter breaks. A chapter can be as short as a sentence or it can be several thousand words long. Shorter chapters will make your novel seem more fast-paced.

Thrillers frequently end chapters on a cliff-hanger to encourage you to keep reading. A long fantasy novel, on the other hand, is more likely to use a chapter break as a place the reader can set the book down.

If you are writing a book with multiple POV characters, you might start a new chapter every time you change point of view.


These are two different "form factors" in my view...one involving the cognitive science of "reading" the other in the expression of an image to produce an emotional reaction. Obviously this is all up to the creators discretion in both instances but to "end a scene" as it were I would ask "to what effect?" Is the purpose to end the entire artistic enterprise? Or just end one aspect of it? Alternatively a "paragraph" exists in writing to delineate the ending of a thought process of a larger whole. One interesting exception might be indenting the term "The End" to literally in fact state for the reader "this work is over...I paragraphed the term The End to manifest this."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.