When to Use a Scene Break

Filed in Ask the Editor, Writing Tips by on November 10, 2020 0 Comments

After reading an intense, significant scene, readers might need a little breather (scene break). Here are 4 other times to use a scene break in your novel..

Did you know the symbol—most commonly three asterisks—inserted between sections of text to break the scene is called a dinkus? Scene breaks serve many purposes, but one reason it’s used is to give readers a breather. Imagine reading an intense scene that holds a lot of significance, but the chapter doesn’t end when the scene ends. You’d need a little breather, right? That’s what the dinkus—or scene break—provides. Here are four other times to use a scene break.

1. When you want to transition from a present-day narrative to a flashback.

A scene break is a useful writing tool when you need to jump from present-day narrative to a flashback and then back to present-day. Readers may not mentally process the time jumps, but when they see the scene break symbol it’ll click that the scene is about to change.

2. When you want to transition to a new setting.

If one scene ends with your protagonist walking into class and the next scene picks up with him out with friends, use the scene break to mark the change in settings.

3. When you want to transition to backstory.

There will be times when you need to add some backstory to fill in plot holes for readers and the best way to make the transition from the current narrative to backstory is by using a scene break. This shows readers that the protagonist’s storyline is hopping back in time.

4. For emphasizing important moments.

Did one of your characters just say something profound and you want to give it all the attention it deserves before hopping back into the story? Use a scene break to force readers’ attention back to the last piece of dialogue before they move on in the story.

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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett has been a freelance editor for nearly half a decade. Before joining the Xulon team in 2010, she worked with several first time authors who wanted to test the waters of self-publishing. Her aim is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands.

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