1. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    Is 97 years too much of a gap?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CatnipCupid, Dec 8, 2013.

    I'm not sure if this thread belongs here or in Setting, but I will continue.

    I'm bridging a long ago mystery with the present for maybe a YA novel, but I'm worried teens may not be able to relate, yet, can they relate any better if the past was set in 1963?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's your job as the writer to make the readers care about or even relate to the events going on 97 years ago. Besides, the teens back then faced a lot of the same problems teens face today. So no, it's not too much of a gap.
     
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  3. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Gap between what and what, Catnip?

    Do you mean that the story's told in two different time-periods and they're 97 years apart?

    Or just that the whole story is set 97 years ago, so the "gap" is between then and now, i.e. it's historical?

    For humans, 97 years is too much of an age-gap for a plausible relationship, I can tell you: there might be 18-year-old girls who like older men, for sure, but not normally guys aged 115. [​IMG]
     
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  4. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    Yes, Lex, this is what I mean. Do you think it's too much?
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think any era can work, if the story is engaging and well-written.

    1916 is war time, 1963 to my mind the start of the swinging 60s. Both of these eras interested me when I was a teenager. I went through a phase of reading wartime stories. Plus I was mad about 60s music etc.

    It's not a mystery, but I remember reading a book called 'Hangin' out with Cici', where the main character (teenage girl) goes back in time to the early '40s. It's by Francine Pascal, in case you want to check it out.
     
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  6. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    That is true. I've done some research and I'm being a bit stubborn in shortening the distance because of it.
     
  7. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    No, I don't at all ... I don't really see why the number of years between the two periods is in itself relevant. There are books written along these lines, where one time-period is "modern" and the other is set in the "ancient world", around 2,000 years earlier?
     
  8. CatnipCupid
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    Thanks, VM8O, I just might do that.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My issue wouldn't be whether teens can relate to it--any historical period would require some effort on the writer's part, and 1916 doesn't seem appreciably more difficult than 1963, no.

    I might be concerned about the fact that you won't be able to have any characters that are present in both periods--well, unless you have time travel or people with superhuman-long ages. But that's certainly not a dealbreaker, it just eliminates some possible options.
     
  10. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    The Source spans millenia. Written by James Michner, I believe, it's span is so great that there are many times there is no character continuity between chapters. It is still beautifully written and worth reading as an example of how to span a setting with differing characters. Also it does not use time travel to accomplish this.
     
  11. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree that the time difference shouldn't be a problem as long as the connector between the two is fluent. I think there would have to be more information to let you know for sure though. Hollywood thought enough of the Young Adults liking the time period you are talking about, to spend a lot of money to make The Great Gatsby.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Have you heard of Cloud Atlas? It had a movie adaptation that I really like. Anyway it is a book that tells like 5 or six stories set in as many different time periods. Some of the jumps are pretty big, but that does not hurt the book.

    It's all a matter of how engaging your story and characters are. Most readers will except any size gap if you convince them to buy into your world and story.
     
  13. osu45d
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    they can relate to aincient rome, you just need to make the world real and make sure you do highlight the diffetences, use things that are uncommon now, like phone boxes(including police ones like the tardis) be aware of the lack of highways, discuss the cold war etc.

    the kids who wont get it wont read it anywat
     
  14. Evarnae
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    Evarnae New Member

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    The story will be relateable if the characters are relateable. Make the characters believable and you can put them in whatever time you want, though probably not the paleolithic era - grunts and groks are a bit difficult to relate to even for me. Be aware though of the gender and class roles of the time you place the characters into. If you're running a story in parallel over two times you might have some difficulties with things like restrictions on what women and black people were allowed or not allowed to do, or what kind of personality the very poor might have when compared with the middle class or rich - these aspects will vary from country to country as well.
     

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