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I have found information on this topic of scene breaks available on the internet to be quite conflicting and I've frustrated myself into a lot of confusion. Some authors use only double spaces to indicate a scene break for a change in location, time, etc. Some authors use only asterisks. I've also found that some authors use both the soft scene breaks (double spacing) to indicate a change in location etc, and hard scene breaks (asterisks) to indicate a complete shift in the chapter.

Can someone please guide me on what is acceptable and what is the most preferred? Do editors change your formatting if they don't like it?

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    Personally, I found the double-space to be inadequate, especially as sometimes one page rolling into another coincided with a double-space. I used the asterisk. Ideally, you shift at the end of a chapter, but this isn't always possible. A short explanation is also good to set the new stage if things seem unclear. My editor still wanted to clarify, but was okay as long as I stayed consistent.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 30 '20 at 14:59
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    PS my editor also had me NOT indent new paragraphs after a break in the story, and the first paragraph of a new chapter, so the first paragraph started at the beginning of the line.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 30 '20 at 15:59
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Can someone please guide me on what is acceptable and what is the most preferred? Do editors change your formatting if they don't like it?

There's no hard and fast rule on what to use. Personally I've used various combinations depending on what suited the particular piece - if I find myself regularly needing harder scene breaks during a chapter (such as a change in POV) then I'll usually have a visual clue (such as asterisks). On the other hand if such harder breaks are very rare I'll avoid that and instead use a chapter boundary or similar.

The most important thing really is to be consistent within your work - that way the reader can pick up on what you are accomplishing with the break-formatting you're choosing to use.

Do editors change your formatting if they don't like it?

Potentially - either because the formatting you've chosen makes the text harder to follow or because of typesetting concerns for the final format.

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  • May I ask what a chapter boundary is? Is that like using double spacing? Thank you for your answer, it was very helpful.
    – N.Houghton
    Sep 30 '20 at 14:09
  • @N.Houghton Literally when the current chapter ends and the next begins - usually a page break and a heading for the next chapter (even if just Chapter x)
    – motosubatsu
    Sep 30 '20 at 14:15

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