What's the best way to add scene dividers?

I’m looking for advice on the best way to add scene dividers when I compile to mobi / epub / Word formats. By scene dividers I mean a visual element such as a few squiggly lines and a graphical element to indicate a scene break. I could just use a blank line or two, but these can lost on ereaders. So I want to add: line break **** line break.
I’ve tried 3 methods, and all are okay but not perfect. (I’m working on a novel with parts - so I have Manuscript / parts folder / chapter folder / scene1 as text doc; then scene 2 as text doc etc as my structure)

  1. Adding them manually at the end or beginning of each scene. Clumsy, and hard to change.

  2. Using the ‘separators’ custom function during compile. This works - I can add a few line or bullets etc between text docs, but I can’t add line breaks (pressing return activates the blue compile button rather than inserting a para return).

  3. Using the Formatting section of the Compile menu - all the scenes are at level 3. By going to section layout I can add my line breaks and graphical elements to my heart’s content. BUT - these are also included in the first scene of a new chapter, which clearly doesn’t work.

Has anyone got a suggestion for a better way of doing this? Thanks in advance.

A trick with text fields on OS X is that if you hold down the Option key while hitting return, you can enter a line break. So that would be your easiest option. A line break is already inserted either side of the separator character automatically, though, so if you enter more line breaks you will end up with large blank lines either end of the separator (which may well be what you want - just checking).

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Here is a trick I have used and like. I think it avoids all the down sides of the techniques you mention. It is flexible and independent of your Binder structure and how your documents are divided up (a good thing).

Create a scene break document (I named mine “§”) which contains a single line, no carriage return. If you want a blank line for your break indicator, you need to put a single SPACE character in this document. If you have a publisher’s mark (aka “squiggly line”) you wanted to use, then put it in this document.

Now, duplicate this doc to your heart’s content and place a copy of it everywhere in your binder where you want to indicate a scene break.* Simplement!


P.S. I have handled chapter breaks in a similar way and find this also very usefully flexible.

  • If you currently have your separator preferences set to make padding, you will need to back off that, of course.

Thanks both - good ideas here and should solve the issue. But Keith - I haven’t found that a line break is inserted either side of a separator character - but that might be something to do with how I’m viewing the output file, as I know the Kindle reading and testing apps can be a bit idiosyncratic. I’ll go off and check on a few devices.

Nice trick! The white space alone does not seem to be enough, though, in Scrivener for Windows. I resorted to write an in-line annotation that reads “this is a blank line” followed by a single return character, which produces the same result in both Mac and Windows.