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While producing a fiction audiobook that is composed of several unnamed and unnumbered sections, what is the best way to mark the begining of each section? In the paper edition of the book in question, those sections are just separated by blank lines and a couple of asterisks. It is a somewhat unconventional narrative style, as each section is like a flashback, that is not directly related with the previous and the following section. Also, some of those sections can be pretty short, like one or two paragraphs.

Would you just include a few seconds of silence between them, or would the reader benefit more from some kind of audible indicator?

  • Why do you want to mark the beginnings of the sections in the audiobook? What do you want the reader to gain from these marks? Perhaps the reasons you have for marking the beginnings will help suggest names and numbers for the sections or chapters. – StandardEyre May 23 '16 at 19:42
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    In the paper and ebook versions, the text has visual spacers to delimit those sections. In the context of the narrative, each section consists of a separate episode, with its own setting, time, that is not and should not be apparent at first. The whole story is told in a series of flashbacks until near the end where everything gets in place. I am afraid that without something that marks in an explicit way the end of each section, the reader does not get the intended feeling that each episode/section is seperate from the previous and the next. They're not really sequential. – Victor Domingos May 24 '16 at 16:26
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It really depends on the type of content you are producing and how many sections there are (and what they are about).

I've heard lots of readers just give a longer pause between sections, and that worked well.

On the other hand, flashbacks are already a unique beast and we are already accustomed to hearing or seeing some kind of cue. The standard I'd use is that if listeners might be confused about when a flashback scene takes place, perhaps an additional cue should be inserted.

But some flashbacks flow so naturally into the text that this is never a problem (especially if you're using 1st person or 3rd person limited with a strong narrative voice). On the other hand, more omniscient narratives might require more cues.

  • In this case, the whole narrative is built around flashback-like episodes, mostly 1st person. There is another book I am also considering that follows a very similar pattern but that includes some letters (mail mail letters, I mean). That one may be a little easier for the listener to grasp because of the text clues (date and place in the begining, signature in the end). I need to go back into the text and read it again, and think more about it. – Victor Domingos May 23 '16 at 18:02

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