The dinkus – a symbol between story or essay part – is a resource of confusion to many writers. Come use, or no to use? What is a dinkus in reality for? check out a an interpretation of the dinkus, add to 6 ideas on an innovative ways to use them:


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The dinkus – a symbol between story or essay sections – is a resource of confusion to many writers. Come use, or not to use? What is a dinkus in reality for? review a definition of the dinkus, add to 6 ideas on creative ways to use them:

Scene rest markers: once to use a dinkus

What is a dinkus?Help reader navigateShift feeling of scaleFragment narrationGive readers breathersEmphasize vital momentsAdd stylistic or literary effect

What is a dinkus?

A dinkus is a symbol inserted between sections of text in order come make ar or scene division clear.Brandon Taylor, in a humorous article around how dinkuses room (over)used (particularly in digital publishing), explains their function:

It’s a way to delineate a section break from a web page break, a means to cue the reader that a change is coming, a movement into something else. A string of three asterisks together is dubbed a dinkus, and they are typically used in fiction and in nonfiction come carve up larger sections into smaller tho sections. Castle a kind of organizational tool that, in publish media, is especially valuable when taking care of fragmented texts.

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Brandon Taylor, ‘I reject Your Asterisks, and also Your Dinkus, Too’ (2018), via Literary Hub

There are many other means to show section breaks, of course. Many modern-day novels forego the 3 asterisks the the dinkus because that a single asterisk, or use an alternate symbol, as pillar McCann walk in Dancer in the instance below:


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Example of section break making use of a symbol

Here room 6 ideas around how you have the right to use a dinkus to:

1. Aid readers navigate

One use of the dinkus, as Daisy Alioto puts it, is ‘navigation’:

Much like the stars, the dinkus is a point of navigation.

Daisy Alioto, ‘Ode come the Dinkus’ (2018), The Paris Review

Say, because that example, you want to change abruptly in between a character’s memories as soon as they were 6 years old and present activity taking place elsewhere. Pillar McCann does this in the example above (although using a price in ar of a dinkus).

Between the description of a boy sitting ~ above a river cliff city hall the trains and also waiting for his father to come home when he to be six, and the description of a team clearing out a greenhouse, there’s a comprehensive shift in both time-period and place.

Here, a symbol favor the dinkus is choose a palate cleanser in between courses. It helps the reader clear the lingering impression the the previous ar to pay complete attention to the facility flavours that the next.

2. Transition sense the scale

Often, you check out a dinkus used when a narrative move in scale.

One section could show one intimate, in-depth conversation between characters.

The following might change into historic narration about far-reaching background events during the year in which the conversation takes place.

A scene break between these sections would signpost the ‘movement into something else’ Brandon Taylor describes above. Us move right into a various sense that scale, native the individual, specifically situated scene to the broader, general and historical.

3. Fragment narration

One of the objections of making use of the dinkus to division sections Taylor makes is that it takes united state out the the scene and flow that a piece of writing.

This is specifically the instance in digital writing, that says. When we read a item in a constant scroll online, informing the difference in between page and also section breaks is moot, that argues. However you deserve to use a dinkus specifically for this ‘fragmenting’, ‘pulling-us-out-of-the-scene’ effect.

For example, you may want to compose a scene where lots is keep going in various places, simultaneously.

Cutting between briefer sections v a dinkus (or single asterisk) in between each can suggest the tumult and simultaneity that the occasions described.

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4. Offer readers breathers

Scene breaks within chapters are beneficial for creating a breather.

For example, if a passage of narration gives facility concepts, or there’s a non-step action scene yet there are still further, separate advancements necessary prior to closing the chapter.

A Reddit user in a discussion about Taylor’s write-up on the dinkus says they evaluate the ‘mini mental break’ a ar break provides:

I don’t usage asterisks/dinkus/whatever however with lengthy pieces I appreciate it as soon as it’s there. It’s choose a mini mental break. Ns don’t know why it helps me, yet it does.

Reddit user Um_Gayeb, in the /r/writing subreddit

5. Emphasize vital moments

A scene break is advantageous for emphasizing vital moments.

Say for example, you wish to draw attention come a memorable declare a character makes.

In the below example, Barbara Kingsolver supplies a dinkus (though it’s created as three triangle wingdings rather of asterisks) in a way that creates emphasis on the character’s native right before the break.

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The protagonist Codi has pertained to stay v her friend Emelina, and also is watching her sons slaughter and also prepare a chicken. Codi speak Emelina around her sister Hallie protesting your abuelita (grandmother) slaughtering chickens, and Emelina corrects here, saying it to be Codi herself who led the protesting:

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Kingsolver provides the dinkus here in between scenes after ~ Emelina’s indigenous ‘not everything stays with you all her life’. Her words resonate with various other experiences Codi has, such together returning to she hometown in ~ the begin ofthe chapter; a hometown in i beg your pardon she feels choose an outsider and also isn’t specifically close to her father.

The position of the dinkus help to attract our attention to the way this idea resonates with other facets of Codi’s personality arc.

6. Include stylistic or literary effect

When Daisy Alioto spoke to the editor in chef of Electric Literature, Jess Zimmerman, around the dinkus, Zimmerman said:

“I’ve seen human being complain, Why is this three-asterisk point so overused? i think one of the objections is the it feels self-consciously literary. Yet it is. Points that space tools for us as authors are additionally things that we deserve to lend come the reader as a method of mirroring them exactly how to review the piece.

Jess Zimmerman, quoted by Daisy Alioto in ‘Ode to the Dinkus’

As Zimmerman says, you can use any type of of the tools accessible to you as a writer. It’s approximately you even if it is you use a dinkus to signal step transitions within chapters, or division historical and current stare time.

As long as the aids fairly than hinders clarity, the dinkus offers one more way to develop interesting structure and juxtapositions.

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