1. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Time skips how much is too much?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sarah's scribbles, Aug 4, 2015.

    Okay so is there a general rule of thumb or something for time skipping in stories. I honestly try not to use them much because, for example, there's a book series called Sword art online and the series is about a thousand players getting stuck inside a virtual reality video game where if you die in the game you die for real. they do a couple partial time skips and one major one that all together add up to a basic 2 year leap where most of the details and interesting story could have been placed. This has always peeved me and normally when I do a time skip I don't count it as one because normally it's too like the next morning and that happens from the end of the chapter to the beginning of the next one.
    however, i find myself having trouble coming up with mid ground content for my story. so I'm thinking of putting up a time skip of maybe a couple weeks and explaining what's happened throughout the following chapters. Nothing eventful to the plot will have happened in this time truly, not that I can think of. I just feel like putting a two week time skip in the story to a month one would be a bit too much. is it acceptable if it's for the good of the story or should I just try to come up with material for this time.
     
  2. Hamish246
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    Hamish246 New Member

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    I love a well placed time-skip. Especially after reading through a character for years and in their world its only a year (see fairy tail).
    I think in your case it would be fine. A few weeks is a common skip in a lot of stories, skipping marching or waiting for the enemy is a good way to keep your readers :)

    There's no real need to create filler content if you can't it'll just be cut out of your story when you edit at the end anyway.
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm writing a history novel, with real events happening when they happened (ever tried working out the date of Easter in 1051?!) so there are obviously time skips. I'm handling this by putting the date at the start of each section, and handwaving what happened in between (all the major actions will be narrated).

    Probably the shortest of the skips is a four-day period when the antagonist marches his army 200 miles in 4 days - a fantastic achievement, but not worth a stride-by-stride account.
     
  4. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Personally I think it all depends on the story. Mine has to do with how a character feels and him turning good so having lost time is pretty bad for mine especially when it could be used to shape him into a better man like I want it too. But I'm sure time skips are fine depending on your story. Personally I have a major scene coming up of a mass burial/funeral that I don't think would be wise to say what happens step by step but I am making a monologue that goes through what happens in great detail and explains how the MC feels about it. But that to me is more of a 'fast forward' button and not a time skip.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see any problem with this, really. Just make sure you do it well.
     
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  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Agreed. As long as you do it well, you can skip forward anywhere from a few days to a few centuries.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The biggest problem with time-skips is failure to orient the reader. Make sure if you're jumping forward (or backward) that you make it VERY clear in the opening sentence or two of the next scene exactly what has happened.

    There is no easier way to lose a reader than confusing them about what is going on. If they've left one scene and started another, get halfway down the page, wonder WTF is going on ...backtrack, page forward, then finally discover the scene is taking place 10 years after the previous scene and you didn't let on? At best, you've annoyed them. At worst, you've lost them.

    Always orient the reader.
    One of my personal top rules of story construction.
     

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