So two days before my character is thinking about something and she is in her room. How do I show that two days later her friend is talking to her?

Here are my rough sentences:

She relaxed when she heard him walk away.
That was it, right?

And then two days or one day later I want to open with her friend talking to her:

“I heard it’s the best thing to do,” Julian said.

So do i say like "julian said two days later"? or "Julian said at lunch the next day"?

I don't know how to transition.

  • 1
    I would greatly recommend that you read Anne of Green Gables. The author transitions frequently, nearly every chapter, and the gaps can be anywhere from a day to several months. She does it flawlessly, IMO. Dec 22, 2016 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


If you start a new scene, the reader will know that something has changed. In a manuscript, you indicate a change of scene by putting a pound sign (#) or three asterisks (* * *) on a line by themselves (and optionally centered on the line). That's called a scene break.

Readers know that a new scene generally indicates a change of time, place, viewpoint, or some combination of those. So if the new scene has the same viewpoint character, the reader will know that some time has passed. They may not know, at first, how much time has passed. So you'll want to indicate that fairly soon in the new scene. You can do it with dialogue:

"I want to believe that, Julian," she said, "but it's only been two days. He could come skulking back tomorrow. Or next week. Or at the wedding. How will I ever know that he's really gone for good?"

or with the viewpoint character's thoughts:

Julian was right. Two days and not a word from Biff. Maybe this time he was really gone.

  • 9
    Actually readers will already recognize a scene break by an empty line, because in print, paragraphs follow each other without vertical space, so any higher-than-normal spacing between paragraphs already indicates a scene break. Also, scene breaks can happen inside sentences: She relaxed when she heard him walk away. That was it, she thought, but two days later Julian approached her again and said: "I heard it’s the best thing to do." Here the scene break is between thought and but.
    – user5645
    Oct 31, 2014 at 7:30

Dale Emery gives great examples for how you can indicate the passing time by letting the characters state or think about it. (+1)

To broaden the perspective a bit, in my opinion the question must be answered based on who your narrator is.

Do you have a narrator that is separate from the story? Then letting the narrator comment on the passing time is perfectly fine and quite common in fiction:

Two days later ..."

Or is one of the protagonists the narrator and the story is told from his or her perspective? Then you must use this person's thoughts and perceptions to narrate everything, because the outside perspective is no longer available to you. With this narrative style, everything you write is said or thought or remembered by one of the characters, and you should write it in a way that is in harmony with this perspective:

[see Dale's examples]

  • I like the idea of the line break and then the first words are: Two days later... as you have it. Seems best to show passing of time first since it has meaning here.
    – raddevus
    Oct 31, 2014 at 12:29

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