1. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    The Pogo Stick novel – Boingg! Boingg! Boingg! Boingg!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Backward OX, Sep 10, 2009.

    Do you know of any novels set in two different periods over a century apart and with chapters alternating between the two?

    If you don’t, what do you think of the idea anyway?

    Note I am NOT talking about an epic covering a single period of time chronologically. I am referring to stories having their beginning way back when, and their ending in the here and now, and with jumps back and forth between the two periods.

    And like I said, even if you don’t know of any, do you think it would work? And if not, why not?

    Of particular interest to me is the Main Character in such a story. Do you think there should be only one MC, with all characters in the other period being of lesser importance, or could each period have an equally significant MC? Put another way, must readers have only one hero/villain with whom to identify, or can they cope with two?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tess Gerritsen's The Bone Garden does this. Although I'm not overly fond of the story (not impressed with the soul connection thing), the writing is well handled.

    A much better one is Sue Grafton's S is for Silence. The time periods are only about thirty years apart, but the novel does transition between two time periods.

    A novel I'm working on does this too, as the first several chapters alternate between the lives of a character with a normal life span and another who has lived for millenia before they meet.
     
  3. Acton
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    Acton Member

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    Wilbur Smith's, The Sunbird. Though its more of a parallel. Modern time are people at an archeological dig whose lives "almost" mimic that of the people who lived in the time when the dig was still thriving with life. It reads as one chapter "now time" one chapter "then time."
     
  4. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    I've actually read a lot of books that do that. One of the most recent that I have read is, "All She Ever Wanted". In that book it actually switches between about 4 different time periods, and in the end they all fit together. It was actually a pretty good book, but I prefer to stay with one story instead of switching all the time.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    lots of writers have done that successfully... it's not all that rare...

    it'll work if one's a good enough writer to make it work... and won't, if not...
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I'm pretty sure they are called frame novels.


    Anne Rice's Merrick

    Though, it doesn't jump back that far.

    For my second novel, I wrote it this way. The time was present and approx 2 billion years ago.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    by whom?... i've never heard the term...
     
  8. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    I read this book called The Grass Dancer about a year ago. That book started in modern times, and went on in reverse chronological order, occasionally jumping back to modern times. The idea seemed good, but the book seemed like a gimmick to me.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Maybe you meant frame story? And that's not quite what it means. It simply means that a story is told within a story (as in one story "frames" the other).
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    An example from television of a frame story would be the classic Star Trek episode, The Menagerie. The frame story is the abduction of Captain Pike by Spock and the subsequent court martial. The framed story, or story within the frame, is the original pilot episode The Cage, as it is retold to explain the abduction in the frame story.

    With a frame story, the stories within the frame are separate tales that could stand on their own. That isn't necessarily the case with the period hopping that xO is referring to. The time jumping story may require both time periods to make one complete story - neither time period's events can stand alone as an independent tale.
     
  11. amateur
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    amateur Member

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    there is a book i read where it jumps back in forth to a modern day girl who has moved to new zealand and a ships boy on Lord Nelsons ship so one chapter is placed during the napoleanic war and the next in modern days also the lottie project by Jaqueline Wilson
     
  12. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    You're not just a pretty face, then. In my years of meandering around various forums you're the first to twig something about my username.
     

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