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  1. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    Time in stories

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by afrodite7, Jul 25, 2012.

    -I have been employing time skips in my novel,usually a period of weeks ,and one of them was years (2012-2030).What do you think of them?Do they annoy you? I tell what happens during time skips,but I want to know what readers and writers think of them.Should I use them or not?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Time skips will be done in Novels no matter what, I think they'll kinda unavoidable, big and small. I don't mind, there's no point including days in the novel that don't help move along the story. Thus why I skip a lot of days during my novel xD. As long as you tell the reader in some way there's a been a time skip then I have no problem with them.
     
  3. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I agree with Youniquee. You don't want to be writing about uninteresting thing just because you don't want to jump ahead. Your story would end up 1700 pages and most of it would be filler. Time skips are useful to keep the action moving in any story that covers any period of time.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think it depends on the story and how well the jump is handled - It's only annoyed me a few times when I was more interested in the story before the jump
    and didn't like the twist in the story after the jump. That could've just been my personal preference though, as the story went from a gothic victorian setting with a clever story angle to a modern day setting with a more cliche angle. Sometimes too , it's dangerous to mention an event that might have the reader scoffing I'd rather be reading about that than this - which I've experienced. But all in all , if your story is to cover a large time span and the reader knows it
    , he should be more forgiving as long as you keep up his interest in what's going on now.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Only use them if you can write them well. :D
     
  6. ThievingSix
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    ThievingSix Member

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    I think it really depends on how well the time skips are done. Don't skip 20 years for the simple reason that your character was too young for something. I'd use flash backs and start the story at the present time in most cases and fill in gaps. Personally i find it irritating when decades disappear like nothing happened.

    A bad use of time skip in my opinion would be starting the story as a child and the protagonist learning a seemingly irrelevant lesson. Then skipping forward 30 years and the protagonist then using that lesson to save his or another life.

    A good use would be starting the story in the thick of the action, and then flashing back as the action unfolds, giving small pieces of the memory to build a picture of the lesson learnt. That is how i would do it.
     
  7. cuetip29
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    cuetip29 New Member

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    I usually don't mind time skips. In fact, sometimes they pan out much better than having to trudge through dull chapters. But as far as skipping whole years or decades...that seems like a little much. This makes me feel like the story is actually starting at the wrong time. As a reader, I would find this jarring unless it was handled exceptionally well. i would suggest making sure you're starting the story at the right time and including information from the past when it comes up in the present (of the story).
     
  8. Bagabon
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    Bagabon Banned

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    If the time jump is done when I'm interested in what is currently happening it can bother me, but if it is to skip boring parts then its definitely necessary and doesn't bother me one bit.
     
  9. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    Depending on what you're working with, you can also span time with bridges instead of skips. If a pure skip feels too abrupt, a 60,000-foot view bridging across an extended span of time can be useful, especially if it strikes themes about how things have changed over the span of time in question. It can also make a muddled mess if not handled carefully, so it's definitely not for everyone.
     
  10. Cherrera
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    Cherrera Member

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    In Rudy Rucker's Ware Tetrology, Rucker employs time skips regularly. It's done well and if I'm not mistaken the series took him twenty years to complete. Personally I think the work is a masterpiece, but he's a well-worn writer. You can do it and do it well, but I think it takes quite a bit of work to work out the kinks.
     
  11. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    I think time skips are fine as long as the reader is clear that a skip has occurred and as long as the skip makes sense for the plot. I do think if you skip more than once the skips should be of similar length. Jumping forward 3 months in one place and 20 years in another would be hard to digest. I think it would be confusing. Also bigger skips require more dramatic structural boundaries. Skipping 20 years between paragraphs would be hard to swallow. Skipping 20 years between books in a trilogy would be no problem.

    Edited to add: Okay, skipping 20 years between paragraphs might work for flashbacks, time travel, or magic. :)
     
  12. growingpains
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    growingpains Member

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    Since you tell what happens between the time jumps and how much time has passed between one point in another, I don't think it should be a problem. As another member stated, as long as you write them well it should work out just fine. And even if it annoys some readers, you'll have other readers who really like books like that. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but as long as readers don't spend more time thinking about the time gaps than they do plot and character, it shouldn't matter.
     

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