8 Ways To Use The Dinkus In Your Books

Posted on Aug 24, 2023

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Written by Jackie Pearce

Home > Blog > Creative Writing, Writing > 8 Ways To Use The Dinkus In Your Books

While you might not know the name of it, you have seen the dinkus used in various books you have read.

It can be a helpful tool for authors to know, especially when it comes to formatting a book, chapters, or certain scenes.

If you have wondered what the dinkus is, how to use it, and some ideas to bring it into your own writing, you won’t want to miss the steps and ideas below.

[PRINTABLE] Writer’s Guide Handbook “Parts Of A Story” Writing Handbook

Full 53-Page Handbook that you can use to write and map out your story!

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What Is A Dinkus?

If you do not know, the dinkus is a line of three asterisks to break up a text.

It will look like this on a page: * * *

The dinkus is a typographic symbol that you will find in various forms of literature that often denotes a “break” in some written work. This break could be the end of a chapter, a transition in scenes, or a way to symbolize different stanzas in poetry. There are other various uses on top of that, but those are often the most common.

There are a few other varieties as well. The traditional asterisk “*” indicates a footnote.

The asterism ( ⁂ ) was the original dinkus but has died out as that type of purpose over time. However, you might still find it in older books.

Breakdown Of The Dinkus

As an author, you are probably wondering how and why you should consider using a dinkus.

Keep in mind, more than anything, it is a stylistic choice. You can choose to use one or not, but it is a tool you should know about so you can decide if it fits in your book.

You can also use a stylistic symbol to indicate a section break, it does not always have to be the dinkus.

Where And How To Use A Dinkus

Lots of writers use a dinkus in order to give the reader a break to signify the “end” of something. It lets the reader know that there is a conclusion and the author is moving onto another topic, scene, another character’s point of view, or other transitional part.

Let’s go over some main places and ways to use the dinkus in your books.

#1 – As a section divider

You will most often see the dinkus used between chapters and sections of a book. It indicates to the reader that the chapter or section is over and they will be moving on after that.

If you want to signal to the reader that there is a whole new section, perspective, or time jump, it can be a good reason to use a dinkus.

Obviously, a new chapter can indicate the same thing, but you might not want to create a whole new chapter just to indicate a change.

#2 – Scene transitions

Scene transitions are another common way that writers can use the dinkus.

If you have a book that needs to transition between things, such as different characters’ points of views or different time frames, you might want to use a dinkus to indicate the transition.

It lets the reader quickly know that there is a transition instead of them having to figure it out by reading. The clearer you have transitions, the more readers are likely to keep reading because you are not confusing them.

#3 – In poetry

Another common place for writers to use the dinkus is in poetry.

Using the dinkus in poetry can indicate that there is a break between stanzas and can provide a creative way to indicate a visual pause. That pause can be used as a creative element as well, giving pause to the reader for a dramatic effect.

Since poetry often has less “formal” rules than other kinds of writing, there are a lot of ways you could use it.

#4 – To highlight something important or to decorate a page

This is not as often as some of the others, but some authors will use the dinkus to highlight one specific passage or idea in their writing.

You might even just choose to use a dinkus for aesthetic purposes. While there are generally specific purposes for the dinkus, if you choose to use it for purely decorative purposes, it is your book so do what you want. Check out this article for more on decorative books, as book decoration warrants a larger discussion.

#5 – Use them in the right historical context

If you are writing a book that denotes or highlights a particular time in history (or a passage from other kinds of text), you might need to use a dinkus in that particular way to keep your book accurate.

This is also when you might need to use an asterism ( ⁂ ) since it was the original way the dinkus was presented and can be found in older books.

#6 – As a way to shift time

If you want to indicate to your reader that they are about to go forward or backwards in time, using a dinkus can be a great tool to signal that it is happening.

You do not want to just throw your audience into the past without giving them a chance to do so.

#7 – As a way to give more context

If you need to take a step back for the reader to give them more context into the story and things they might need to know, this can be a great way to do so.

Whether they need to know something about the time era that your story takes place in or context around a certain location, you can use them to indicate a break to give more information.

#8 – To give a break or build tension

You can also use the dinkus to create a variety of experiences for the reader.

If you just went through an incredibly tense scene in your book, putting in a dinkus to let your readers process what they just experienced can be a good way to bring in a “breather” for them.

At the same time, you can also use a dinkus to build tension and introduce a slow burn of elements for your readers to experience.

For example, if you were writing a horror book, you could put in a dinkus right as the moment the main character realizes there is someone in their house. It is a slight pause that can be timed perfectly to give the reader a moment to feel the emotions you want them to feel.

Ready To Write Your Book?

If you are ready to start writing your book and want some help along the way, you do not want to miss out on this handbook.

It will help you through mapping out your story and helping to make sure it is a success. Even if you are great at writing your stories, having extra help never hurts.

Get your workbook:

[PRINTABLE] Writer’s Guide Handbook “Parts Of A Story” Writing Handbook

Full 53-Page Handbook that you can use to write and map out your story!

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