Today we’re talking about the scene break. Typically denoted with an extra couple of spaces, a series of asterisks (***), or the pound sign (##), they are an easy way to alert the reader to a change. A scene break should be used for one of three reasons:
- To alert the reader to a point-of-view change,
- To alert the reader to a shift in time, and / or
- To alert the reader to a change in setting.
The most common misuse of scene breaks is using too many of them; this is especially apparent in romances that alternate between the hero and heroine’s point-of-view, which then leads to massive head-hopping. But that’s a different post for a different day.
Back to scene breaks… A good rule of thumb is to use one per chapter, two maximum, but only if the chapter is on the longer side (15+ pages). Any more than that and the story begins to feel choppy and episodic, sorta like those montages you see in movies. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate well to written fiction, so remember to keep the story flowing as smoothly as possible.