1. JREwing
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    JREwing New Member

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    A jump in time across chapters.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JREwing, Oct 24, 2011.

    Hi everyone.

    Basically, the first chapter of a book I'm writing (a crime mystery) takes place in a different time setting (the 1950's) to the rest of the book (present day). At least that's the plan...

    I have considered using "flashbacks", for my elderly characters to instead reflect on past events (i.e, a murder) through dialogue, but couldn't see how I'd make it work.

    What I'm having difficulty with is how to "bridge the gap" between chapters one and two. The first ends with my main character falling asleep as a girl, and the second opens with the same character waking many years later, much older, and in a completely different place. Do I write in something like "Many years later..."? Or should I allow the events of the past to unfold through the story somehow?

    I hope I got across what I'm trying to find out, it was hard to word this question.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Darin Peaker
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    Darin Peaker Member

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    I'm writing a sci-fi novel. In my world faster-than-light travel is possible, but takes weeks and/or months, consequently dealing with gaps in time is a continual challenge. I have used several techniques--flashback through a dream, flashback through memory, dialogue between characters, a brief connecting paragraph--eg. The next few months past uneventfully. He continued his studies and, lost as he was in the day-to-day grind, the days drifted by almost un-noticed. Sometimes I ignore it when I think the reader will infer it for his or herself. You can also workout something with chapter titles or a bolded beginning.


    New York, 1937 I picked up the gun; the barrel was still hot.

    London, 1952 Mary looked a the money her first john had given her and felt sick.


    Lastly, a technique I've been experiment with is maintaining the subject/focus while shifting across time. Chapter 1 ends with "Will would have lots of time to practice during the month-long trip to Ares." Chapter 2 begins with "Will was hopping with excitement. He was raised on a desert world and Ares was a lush watery world. When the shuttle landed, he would catch his first sight of an ocean.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. JREwing
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    JREwing New Member

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    I like the idea of using a dream... I think I'll try that. It could work out very well. I think I'll open with the 50's story as chapter one, and have my character wake up at the end of it, leading to chapter two.

    Thanks for your help, I will play around with a few of the methods you've outlined :)
     
  4. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could also try changing tense, with a smooth transition through a memory recall that was triggered by an aroma, an object, or a present dialogue. I have several points where I start a chapter or flashback in present tense and come back to a past tense to illustrate the transition, however I do it only when the story will benefit from it and not to info dump or over narrate as too many jumps has the chance of confusing or frustrating readers.
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Turn the first chapter into a prologue. Problem solved, you don't have to do anything fancy.
     
  6. JREwing
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    JREwing New Member

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    @Jhunter: A prologue seems like a nifty idea and much less complications involved. I think I'll go for that, thanks!
     
  7. Prophetsnake
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    Prophetsnake Contributing Member

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    I did that with my novel. Covers a multitude of sins! In this story the first chapter (prologue) takes place in 500 BC ,the next in 1979 and the next in present day. I didn't want to have two prologues, so I left loads of hints in the 1979 chapter as to what year it was, and then in the next introduced one of the 1979 characters as the mother of the protagonist. a couple of my proof readers complained, but most got it. the alternative was to date the chapters and I just didn't want to do that, bu tit seems to me in a space travel book that could add to the feel of the story. You could invent your own calender like they did on Star Trek.
     
  8. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You could actually use the dates for the chapter names. That would be pretty cool.
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    And so the double posting for today begins. :(
     

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