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Paragraph breaks with asterisks

I'm trying to define a command to insert section breaks into a prose manuscript. Specifically, I would like to use a command to insert white space (two lines, for example) if the section break occurs in the middle of a page, while inserting a visual cue (such as asterisks or a fleuron) if the section break occurs over a page break.

I've been able to put together my own custom command to insert a section break using the code as follows:

\newcommand{\sectionbreak}{
\par
\vspace{1\baselineskip}
\centerline{⁂}
\vspace{1\baselineskip}
\@afterindentfalse
\@afterheading
}

This command will remove the vspace before or after the asterism if that space occurs on a page break. However, I would like to extend this command so that if it occurs in the middle of a page, it will not show the asterism, as in such a case the space alone is sufficient to mark a section break.

The question Can I make some vertical material disappear if it occurs next to a page break? seems to describe the opposite kind of situation, where the visual glyph (in that case, a line) is only displayed if the break occurs within a page, but not at page breaks. I would like to make some material appear if it occurs next to a page break. How might I adapt the code given there for this kind of situation?

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This question is very similar to tex.stackexchange.com/questions/31275/…. Please take a look at it as the information there might help you. If so, that's great, and we'll probably close this question as a duplicate just to keep the place tidy and to help people find answers quickly. If not, please edit your question here to explain why so that people can better focus their attention to help you. –  doncherry Oct 31 '12 at 4:40
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Having done some research into the memoir class's \plainfancybreak macro, it seems that my question is very similar to (and answered by) tex.stackexchange.com/questions/7381/…. –  Кигава Енсеи Nov 4 '12 at 3:53
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marked as duplicate by doncherry, Qrrbrbirlbel, lockstep, Thorsten, Torbjørn T. Nov 4 '12 at 7:57

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The memoir class defines the \plainfancybreak macro, which seems to do exactly what you want. See the memoir manual, section 6.7.

I just tried a quick experiment by copying the relevant part of memoir's source into the preamble of a new document but wasn't able to get this to compile without errors. So I'm not sure exactly how you could easily use this command without switching your document over to memoir. Maybe that's not a problem for you; otherwise, looking at the source might give you some ideas.

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