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What Is The Established Method For Scene Indenting? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
OK, so I know you don't indent the first paragraph of a chapter, but what about scenes separated by asterisks or a hashtag? Do you indent those or treat them in the same way you do a chapter?
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I do indeed indent the first paragraph of a chapter, as well as the first paragraph of a new scene. For me personally, it helps
me recognize that it's a new scene and must stand out from the previous one.

-JJB
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I do indeed indent the first paragraph of a chapter, as well as the first paragraph of a new scene. For me personally, it helps
me recognize that it's a new scene and must stand out from the previous one.

-JJB
But the established method is to NOT indent the first paragraph of a new chapter. I didn't know this until recently. I'm just learning to format properly while I write so I can better understand all the ins and outs if I do indeed self publish. There's nothing wrong with not indenting the first paragraph after a chapter. I want to do it the established way though. What's the established method for a scene?
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
But the established method is to NOT indent the first paragraph of a new chapter. I didn't know this until recently. I'm just learning to format properly while I write so I can better understand all the ins and outs if I do indeed self publish. There's nothing wrong with not indenting the first paragraph after a chapter. I want to do it the established way though. What's the established method for a scene?
I didn't know about this either so I just opened my kindle and looked at half a dozen books. Turns out that all of them don't indent the 1st paragraph. Every day's a school day, eh?
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
But the established method is to NOT indent the first paragraph of a new chapter. I didn't know this until recently. I'm just learning to format properly while I write so I can better understand all the ins and outs if I do indeed self publish. There's nothing wrong with not indenting the first paragraph after a chapter. I want to do it the established way though. What's the established method for a scene?

It might be an established method, but if you are self-publishing rather than sending something to an actual publisher, why worry about such
minutae like that? From my perspective, you're more worried about conformity rather than originality.

-JJB
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Only the last paragraphs in a chapter get indents. For spite.

For what it's worth, write the draft in whatever format works best and assume that A) any eventual publisher will probably change it, anyway or B) it's something you can sweat once you've got it done.
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
It might be an established method, but if you are self-publishing rather than sending something to an actual publisher, why worry about such
minutae like that? From my perspective, you're more worried about conformity rather than originality.

-JJB
I'm not worried about conformity. I'm improving my chances of getting published.
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
OK, so I know you don't indent the first paragraph of a chapter, but what about scenes separated by asterisks or a hashtag? Do you indent those or treat them in the same way you do a chapter?
The two most common ways:

1) Centered divider/symbol between the two scenes

or

2) Blank line of space between the two scenes

And yes, the new scene usually has no indent for the first paragraph.

And to further emphasize new scenes from new chapters, you could also use a drop cap for the first letter of each new chapter (but not for the first letter of each scene). 👍
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
The two most common ways:

1) Centered divider/symbol between the two scenes

or

2) Blank line of space between the two scenes

And yes, the new scene usually has no indent for the first paragraph.

And to further emphasize new scenes from new chapters, you could also use a drop cap for the first letter of each new chapter (but not for the first letter of each scene). 👍
Smashing. Cheers. When you say drop cap, you're referring to the fancy, extra large letters that often start chapters ... right? I'd do that for self publishing or if I was lucky enough to get published, but not when putting a manuscript forward.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
If you'll be trade published, it doesn't matter what you do because the publisher will format your work to their preferences.
If you're self published, just be consistent and you'll be fine (there are no 'indent police hiding in the bushes to issue a ticket).
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
The standard is the first paragraph of a new scene and chapter is NOT indented. But, I don't think you should be concerned about that. It's solely used in physical book formatting where there are tons of rules most people will never have to concern themselves with. For example, any single line of text should have between 10 and 14 words or around 60 characters. These rules aren't applicable to digital books as the reader's settings negate any text alignments.
 
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