1. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Twenty Years, One Book

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ms. DiAnonyma, Feb 24, 2016.

    You can exhale now; I'm actually not going to talk about working on one book for twenty years (hopefully).

    But I would like your input on a story that covers twenty years. (As in, the story starts with the MC at twelve, and ends with him at thirty-two). To be sure, some years get skipped over, and some get less attention than others. But the main events of the story are scattered across the two decades, and at this point, I'm narrating them pretty chronologically.

    I can't seem to think of many books that cover this long of a period (aside from a couple Dickens, but I'd like some different models). Do you know of any good examples where this was done well? Or does it just seem an unwieldy length?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    If there's a lot to tell, take your time to tell it. If your narrative and prose is compelling and beautiful, people will stick till the end.
     
  3. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I'm working on a similar project. The manuscript I'm writing takes place over about 20 years, it follows a large scale government construction project and there's no other way to get through the story on a shorter timescale. I've just been writing several scenes and chapters in one time frame and then when I feel that I've said everything I could I jump forward another year or so. I'm sure there's plenty of stories that are written in this fashion. One that came to mind right away for me is Roots by Alex Haley. I know that I've also read several fantasy and Sci-fi books that follow various Royal lines most commonly showing a child Prince growing up to be King.
     
  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    You might try some Ken Follett (he wins awards for this type of thing :) ):
    • Pillars of the Earth
    • World Without End
    • The Century Trilogy:
      • Fall of Giants
      • Winter of the World
      • Edge of Eternity
     
  5. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe
    You can also watch the (excellent) movie adaptation.
     
  6. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, they look great!
     
  7. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    There are a lot of books that cover 20+ years. Revival by Stephen King covered 50 years I believe. That was the most recent book I read covering a large time period. Also Color Purple by Alice Walker cover probably around 50 years too.
     

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