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Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the question : Conversation question • Page 4 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the question

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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kentsmith9
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby kentsmith9 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:06 pm


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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby DrG2 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:07 pm


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mammamaia
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby mammamaia » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:20 pm

the industry standard for any mss to be submitted for publication has long been to have no blank lines other than between chapters... and to insert a single # for line breaks...

individual writers may have their own preference, but new writers would do well to hew to the standard, unless an agent's or publisher's guidelines say otherwise...
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:52 pm


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kentsmith9
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby kentsmith9 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:45 pm


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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby DrG2 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:08 pm

Like I said, there are differences of opinion, I never said certain folks weren't dogmatic about their choice.

Out of the first 10 hits on a google search of 'how to format scene breaks in manuscripts', 6 of them allow for alternatives to a #.

Here's one that suggests either alternative is acceptable, but only uses the # in short story submissions (scroll down to section breaks):
http://rejecter.blogspot.com/2008/11/ma ... swers.html

Here's one that advocates three asterisks, but thinks there is nothing wrong with a blank line:
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/b ... anuscript/

Here's one that advocates the #, but suggests three # for major scene breaks, (whatever they are):
http://www.shunn.net/format/scene_breaks/

Here's one that says either three # or three *, centered, and each should be separated by a tab:
http://loridevoti.hubpages.com/hub/how_ ... ent_editor

Here's one that suggests a blank line or a #, left justified:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/sho ... hp?t=26126

Here's one that says a single # or * or a few - are all acceptable:
http://graemeshimmin.com/manuscript-for ... ubmission/

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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby mammamaia » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:21 am

which is why the serious writer should learn the actual long-accepted standard ms submission format and ignore all advice to the contrary... the only exception should be for a specific agent or publisher whose submission guidelines insist on something other...

keep in mind that anyone can claim to be an 'expert' on the internet and many do... few really are...

and even the experts may not always be right...

there are a couple of things in shunn's 'bible' i don't agree with, that don't actually follow the standard...
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby cynfranks » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:42 am

Formatting and proofreading are two different things.

If you are looking at a proofread manuscript for publication the marks are universal as James said. I used to be a typesetter and am intimately familiar with them.

But when you are writing your manuscript on your computer, you can indicate a jump in time any way you want as long as it is clear that is what it is and it is consistent.

However, when selling your wares, you should know the conventions of the venue to which you are trying to sell.

A publisher can choose any number of ordinals to mark jumps in time within a chapter, but the spacing for them will be marked with proofing marks if it is not correct.
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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby Wombat_ » Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:47 pm

When I think of classics I have read, some of them have titles, and some don't. Personal choice

Titles can foreshadow. Tolkien, whom I have read so many times; A Shortcut to Mushrooms. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony. Battle of Pellenor Field. Houses of Healing. I can tell you what happens in each of these chapters.

30 years ago or so I read the The Power that Preserves by Stephen R. Donaldson. I don't recall all the plot or characters, but I remember the chapter Lord Mhorrim's Victory it was so powerful. Just the name of the chapter conjures the images and emotions I felt when I read it.

In Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov I can still recall the chapter The Grand Inquisitor, and I read that in high school.

So chapter names can be a great mnemonic for the reader. But not needed by any means.

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Re: Title a chapter or not title a chaper,that is the questi

Postby DrG2 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:19 pm

One think in Pinker's "The Sense of Style" was the importance of "signposts". That titles and section heading can focus the reader and improve clarity. For this reason alone, I will have titles of every chapter I write, until I get agents or publishers to tell me to stop. I'd even like to do it for every scene, but that might be hard to gain acceptance.

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