1. Fronzizzle
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    Fronzizzle Member

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    I don't even know how to title this - how do you show a time skip?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fronzizzle, Dec 19, 2014.

    Please forgive me, but I'm not even sure how to word this properly. I'm not talking about word mechanics, but rather formatting and/or "breaks" to show a significant amount of time has passed.

    Of course, there are situations where you can just say it ("Ten years later, Tiffany was already a detective..."). But what if you don't want to do it that way?

    For example, suppose I'm talking about a character named Jett and the first section is about him as a young boy, then the next as a grown man. I might do something like this:



    blah blah blah [End of young boy section]

    =========================================

    (20 years later)

    blah blah blah [Beginning of grown man section]



    When writing a story, can you use a line of dashes? Or some other symbol? Is it acceptable to put the time passed in parenthesis like that? Or is there a better way? Even if I were to use words, I would think some sort of break would be helpful to reinforce to the reader that some significant time period has passed.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Is it a short story? If it is a novel, I'd start a new chapter.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is still just a scene break, even if it's a break of a long period of time. I agree that a new chapter (or even a new "Part") would be clearest, but if that doesn't work, just write it as a regular scene break. In which case...

    Are you self-publishing? If so, figure out a format that appeals to you and ask a few other people to look at it and be sure it makes sense to them.

    If you're seeking a publisher, the traditional symbol was a #, but lately *** has been getting popular. I really don't think it matters - your typesetter will insert whatever characters work for that publisher.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For a considerable time jump, a new chapter is most often needed. But one can use # to show a short time jump in a single chapter. So for 20 years later, start a new chapter and show the time shift within your text. Refer to the character's name and age, for example, then in the next chapter, let the reader know the character is now older. Also, take care to change the character's voice.

    But for a shorter jump when a new chapter is not called for:

    ... blah blah blah

    #

    ... (20 minutes later) blah blah blah
     
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Tommy sat down to play with his Thomas the Tank Engine toys while SpongeBob played on in the background. His life was perfect.

    ###

    Tommy raced down the hallway of the main university, his heart pounding in his chest. Shit, shit! I'm going to be late! Why did I stay up all night drinking!? Tommy gritted his teeth as his feet pounded the floor. He was a half-hour late, and from what he'd learned over the summer, Professor von Steiner did not tolerate lateness.
     
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  6. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like the suggestions given and have seen authors simply put a date at the start of a chapter. Of course that may not fit well if you want your story to be more generic in time frame.
     

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