1. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Chapters...?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Anna100, May 22, 2015.

    Hi!

    I don't know if this has been brought up before in another thread (it probably has), but I'm going to pose the question anyhow.
    In the story I'm currently writing it's kind of limited how much can happen. It's basically set in the same location almost all the time, and everyday is almost the same (it's a prison). So I take big leaps in between the chapters. For example, I will have one chapter where it's autumn and then the next chapter it will be the beginning of winter. I think this is mainly because I don't know what to fill my story with :p

    The opposite would be where actions in the previous chapters is being closely continued in the next chapter.
    I'm wondering what is most common, as this is not really anything I have paid attention to when reading books before. Is it annoying when so much time have passed between each chapter that you are left wondering what has been going on in the time between?
    Hopefully I have explained this (somewhat) clearly!

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only real problem where chapters follow several months later is that the reader doesn't know. If you make it clear by ending chapter one Dave looked at the fallen leaf that lay on his pillow, and sighed at the ephemeral nature of life and then starting chapter two There was a threat of snow in the air, and an icy edge to the wind when Dave picked up his pen to write his weekly letter to his wife you should have no problem.
    Where the action just carries on, do you really need to end you chapter there? Save the chapter break for a natural break in the action (I'm the opposite - my WIP is full of one-line breaks because it's too short to be a chapter, but I'm moving on to another scene)
     
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  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, chapter breaks are a good way to telescope time and keep your story moving. As @Shadowfax said, the key is to set the scene at the beginning of each chapter, orienting the reader to time and place. You can even do that with chapter headings.
     
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  4. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I'm reading The Kingmaker's Daughter and it has large time jumps between some chapters. Other chapter's take place directly after the previous. This book is historical fiction which is why this happens; they need to fit the story to real-world time frames.

    I don't see any problem with it as long as you make sure the reader is aware the time has passed.
     
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  5. UpstateWriter
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    UpstateWriter Member

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    What others have said:

    You must provide some transitional information to indicate the passage of time--or the reader might get confused. I do not think novels need be linear, but do make sure you give a good and informative transition that will not lose the reader.
     
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  6. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    my next book is going to be based in jail, I am going to work in the characters interaction and the jail is secondary to the situation.
     
  7. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    I read two books as research for writing about in jail see my reviews on my blog https://lanceschukies.wordpress.com/category/book-review/ escape may help you, other than that I read a lot of reports into jails
     
  8. UpstateWriter
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    UpstateWriter Member

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    Or better yet, commit a crime, go to prison to write more accurately on the subject. I'm kidding, of course. I spent nine months in jail and wouldn't wish it on anyone.
     
  9. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I understand that there should be a chapter where there is a natural break. I was just thinking when there is, say, a month between every chapter, would it be troubling to have that between every chapter, would it skip too much? I would wonder if the possible reader would think I want to fast forward the story or something :p .I have not really thought of the fact that the reader might not know how much time have passed, but I think I might make that clear without having to say it directly. And as you said, I have hinted (in the first chapter) that there is a chilly air, and in the next chapter I would have a layer of snow on the ground (as example). Really what I'm writing right now might change a lot, it's just a first draft, but I was just curious. This is probably not an issue at all, it could be just me. :p Thanks :)
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think a reader will fast-forward based on what month you're writing about. They'll only fast forward if they're getting a bit bored with your story and want to cut to the chase. It's much more important to make sure the reader is oriented at the start of each chapter change, rather than worry about whether they'll skip chapters. That's another issue, isn't it? Skipping forward is not what you want, for sure, but needing to skip backwards in order to figure out what is going on will really kill your book.
     
  11. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Yes, that is true. I have actually no idea whether I would confuse a reader or not with my story (in several ways), but I think I've made it somewhat clear. I think ;) Thank you.
     
  12. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    In the books I have read I have not even paid much attention to this, that's one of the reasons why I started wondering. This shouldn't be a problem, then :bigoops: Thanks.
     
  13. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I shall make sure to do that :agreed: Thanks.
     
  14. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I just said prison, but what I'm writing about is not supposed to be an ordinary jail, more of a prison camp or gulag (though it's a lot of the same I imagine?). It's set in a remote place somewhere in Fennoscandia. Or so I have imagined. :p But the same with me, this would be very focused on characters, as this is something I really enjoy writing. And also because this is supposed to be remote, It somewhat focuses on isolation and nature as well.
     
  15. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Thank you, that could be helpful :)
     
  16. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    I will just have to use my imagination on this. :p And read a lot, of course.
     
  17. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Ah, of course. :bigoops: I agree on that. Then again, I have wondered whether this would be a boring tale to tell. Hopefully not so boring that anyone would want to skip it. :p Thanks.
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If you go back to the books you've liked the best and take note, that will probably help a lot, not just with this but with almost any issues you encounter in your writing. If I like a book, I often go back a second time (sometimes more), so I can see what the author did and how (s)he did it. It's a very good way to improve your style and technique.
     
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  19. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Yes, that's a good advice. It's only recently I have started thinking about my writing, and how I should improve it. I'm sure I have a long way to go yet ...but doesn't matter, writing is very fun. :p
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Good luck. Enjoy the ride.
     

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