Don’t use blank lines in your novel
07 Friday Mar 2014
Written by J. Abram Barneck in Ebook
The html behind your book looks like this when you have blank line.
<p>This is one paragraph.</p> <p></p> <p>This is another paragraph.</p>
The blank line will be remove automatically by the software and become just this:
<p>This is one paragraph.</p> <p>This is another paragraph.</p>
So common blank lines I know about that Authors use in Word often are these:
- Using blank lines to place text (Such as title page, chapter headings, etc) lower on the page.
- A blank line to avoid orphans at the bottom of a page.
- Blank lines instead of page break (to take you to the next page)
- A blank line to separate a book scene. (The one you want to keep)
The last one you want to keep. If you are creating a scene break, it is common to leave a single blank space. So if you have a scene break and you add a new line like this below:
<p>. . . as he looked at the blood and gore he knew it was over. He could breath again.</p> <p></p> <p>Back at the cabin . . .</p>
There is no way for the software to differentiate this scene break’s blank line from any other blank line. And software will usually remove blank lines.
However, be careful with the suggestion to add a space. Whitespace (spacebar, tab, enter key, etc..) is easy to find and remove. Some software will also treat the following as blank lines:
<p></p> <-- Empty <p> </p> <-- Has a space <p> </p> <-- Has a few spaces <p> </p> <-- Has a non breaking space <p> </p> <-- Has a carriage return.
I doubt all software treats these as blank lines, but it is easy to do. My eBook code removes these lines.
For scene breaks, just never use a blank line. Use the characters. The most popular are the three stars: * * *
You can get any number of characters that are better than the boring stars from here: http://text-symbols.com. Like this ➳ character or this ❆ or this hourglass character ⌛.
Important! ALwasy test the symbols you choose. Test them on various readers to make sure they don’t display as ? marks. When an e-reader, usually older ones, do not understand a character, they often replace it with the question mark character: ?.
The following scene break line will never be deleted.
<p class="scenebreak">➳ ➳ ➳</p>
Have a nice day. I am keeping some ebook tips on my blog here where I will be re-posting this message.