Writing Corner: The Dinkus

This is post about something you have probably seen many times in books but don’t know the name of (at least I didn’t know it until recently.) A dinkus is a break in the writing and is usually made with three stars, like this:

*         *         *

How to Use a Dinkus

A dinkus is used to show a clear break in the story somewhere that is not a chapter break. The main reasons to do this are if you are changing points of view or a new scene is starting where a lot of time has passed. You don’t have to use one, but it is a way of making the change clear so the reader doesn’t get confused.

For example:

…Randy looked at this watch. He was sweating buckets.

“If the otter police don’t get here soon, we’re in deep trouble,” he said.

James nodded. “I’m almost out of kibble. And the bits are running low too.”

*         *         *

In the blimp floating high over Ferretsburg, Captain Crandle looked down at the unfolding battle with growing annoyance….

In this rather absurd excerpt, we use a dinkus since the next scene is a change in point of view and setting. It’s just a way to make it clear that things have changed.

Another reason to use one is if there are flashbacks in your story. This makes it clear that we are changing time periods.

Dinkus Variations

Although the typical dinkus is three stars in a row, but it could be anything and any number of them. For example:

The point is, it can be whatever you like. Just go to Insert Symbol or whatever it is on your writing program and choose something. This is a good chance to make it unique to your story. For example, using a lighting bolt if your story is about magic or using a car icon if it is a travel story. It is best to keep it centered so it is obvious.

Note: many sites do not support symbols. In this case, use a image file if you want to use something special.

“Hey dinkus, nice shirt!”

If you have any questions about writing or other topics you want me to talk about in Writing Corner, just send me an email at info@greenwalledtreehouse.com.

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