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In The Forgetting*, there are passages from books (mostly the main character's diaries) set between the chapters.

They generally serve to provide exposition about the world or backstory for the main character and her family. Closer to the end (presumably once all the necessary expositing was done) they shift to be shorter and more concerned with mood-setting than information delivery. Even the mood-settings retain the conceit of being diary entries, taking the form of short lines or paragraphs of diary musings.

These diary entries are visibly set apart from the main story: they have a different background color, italicized and monospaced text, and are spatially on entirely different pages. Each is vertically centered on its page, further emphasizing that this it is the centerpiece of its own section, not connected to anything else. Here's one of the shorter examples:

example of a diary entry

Thus I'm not sure if epigraph would apply. While the diary entries could be seen as coming before the chapters (and indeed there is one before Chapter 1 but not after the end of the last chapter), it is more natural for me to see them as occurring between the chapters. They do not appear between the "Chapter X" headings and the main text, or even on the same pages as the regular story.

They're also certainly not all short. With a copious amount of handwaving and being-too-lazy-to-check, I would estimate the average length was half a page. The longest fill the whole of their pages:

example of a long diary entry

Is there a term for this? Does it fall under the umbrella of "epigraph", or is there a distinction made since it isn't part of chapters but instead between them, or because of its length, or anything else?


A similar thing takes place in the companion novel The Knowing, but here there are three distinct common sources for the passages (three different in-world logs), not every chapter has a passage before it, and some of the passages extend to two pages.

In-universe diary entries between chapters also feature in Scythe, for an example from a different series.


* I'm sure I've seen things like this elsewhere, but I can't recall any other specific examples at the current time.

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  • I think this would simply be called an epigraph, but I can't quite find an appropriate source to back that up. Related question on Writing SE, and a couple of sources which show that an epigraph can potentially be on a separate page.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 15 at 22:12
  • An epigraph usually refers to a quotation from another source. I'm not familiar with The Forgetting but I think the passages are by the author. Sophie Mackintosh's The Water Cure is another with similar short sections (by the author) between chapters. It might sometimes be intended to resemble epigraphs, e.g. diary entries or quotations from characters presented as genuine quotations, so it's arguable whether they are epigraphs or fake epigraphs or something else.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 21 at 12:59
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While not typically used to refer to novels Interlude is a good fit.

According to Dictionary.com an interlude is an intervening episode, period, space, etc..

While it is most often used regarding plays or (a bridge in) music, extending its use to literature should bring no confusion.

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  • Do you have a citation from a literary terminology dictionary? Lay English tends to be less precise about specialized words.
    – bobble
    Aug 16 at 17:01
  • 1
    In literature, interlude is a theatrical term that does not seem a good fit for what is being asked here in the context of novels.
    – Tsundoku
    Aug 17 at 14:27
  • In A Memory Called Empire and A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine, this is the actual title given in the book of the short (generally two to four pages) passages between some of the chapters. These passages are not from the main characters' points of view.
    – Peter Shor
    Sep 5 at 13:28

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