Many times in reading, I saw many symbols that indicate the time skip. I wanted to create the exact same stylish marks that many authors use but I wonder what's the exact name for it. I call it time symbols, others called it Dinkus or ornaments, are all those the correct term for it?

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  • Can you provide a visual representation of these symbols?
    – F1Krazy
    May 21, 2021 at 14:53
  • As an aside, the paragraph after the whatever-it's-called is an excellent example of why 'show don't tell' is such terrible advice. May 21, 2021 at 19:29
  • @DM_with_secrets I disagree. The second paragraph here is a narrator very explicitly telling you, and not showing. Showing would be describing the suicide attempt, or AT LEAST having Archie thinking about his motives in trying to commit suicide. He would look at his wife's picture and describe the image, and his lack of feeling towards it and her, and the pointlessness of a life lived wasting his time on someone he didn't love.
    – DWKraus
    May 21, 2021 at 20:50
  • @DWKraus I 100% agree with everything you just said, so I'm sorry that wasn't clear from my first comment! It's telling, it's beautiful, and it's why I wish people wouldn't try to stamp out telling everywhere they see it. May 22, 2021 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia indicates that there are several names for the symbols placed between sections: "dinkus, space break symbol, paragraph separator, paragraph divider, horizontal divider, thought break, or as an instance of filigree or flourish". (None can said to be "more correct" than the others.)

The name of this narrative device (regardless of how it's indicated, if at all) is ellipsis, which, "in narrative leaves out a portion of the story. This can be used to condense time, or as a stylistic method to allow the reader to fill in the missing portions of the narrative with their imagination."


In typesetting they are called section breaks and may be represented simply by an extra blank line between paragraphs or maybe decorative and use typographic symbols determined by the publishers style guide.

The typesetter uses section breaks to demark scene breaks that the author wrote into their story to indicate the end of a scene. Scene breaks can indicate a passage of time, forwards or backwards, but may also mean a change of POV, or change in setting, or both.

In standard manuscript format, a scene break is a single hash mark centered on an otherwise empty line.

This format is widely preferred for submissions to agents and publishers for novels and short stories. The format is so ubiquitous that manuscripts might be rejected out of hand for not adhering to the standard.

  • Personally, I use three centered asterisks (***). Occasionally, my software will reinterpret this as a line of hashes. :)
    – DWKraus
    May 21, 2021 at 20:54
  • @DWKraus, Folks use lots of different ways to mark their scene breaks. I use a word template setup for the standard manuscript so I don't have to reformat my short stories before submitting them to magazines.
    – EDL
    May 21, 2021 at 20:57
  • 1
    +1 I recently learned --from a well-known author! --that the use of the single "#" for the break in the manuscript is one of the shibboleths publishers use to tell the pros from the amateurs. The final convention used is considered presentation, not content, and is therefore reserved to the publisher, not the author. May 28, 2021 at 19:13
  • 1
    @ChrisSunamisupportsMonica, best use of shibboleth I seen this month. Terrific but under used word
    – EDL
    May 28, 2021 at 19:18

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