1. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2020
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    14

    How to properly pace a story spanning decades?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by WritingInTheDark, Jan 14, 2021 at 12:51 AM.

    So I'm working on a book (the plan is to make it a series) covering the lives of a bunch of immortals (vampires, werewolves, and other such creatures secretly living among humanity). It starts in 1990, but will gradually advance through the years getting closer and closer to modern day, and a recurring part of the story is how their efforts to stay a secret keep getting harder the more advanced human technology gets. This will play a massive role at the climax of the series as I envision it, though obviously for spoiler reasons I can't say more.

    My issue is I'm not sure how to handle the passage of time here. Should I have it be like Harry Potter but on a longer timescale, where one book will cover a story arc that takes multiple in-story years to conclude? Should I tell stories that take place on a smaller timescale and skip ahead massive amounts of time between them? Some other method that I can't think of at the moment? I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around the pros and cons of each method, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to decide how to tackle this.

    If it helps, for context, the story is heavily implied to be the main character writing a sort of memoir of his life and his adventures with his friends years after the fact.
     
  2. Proficere

    Proficere Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2020
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    45
    If each timeline has enough to make it into its own book, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, if it's relevant in some way or another, you could do something like:

    Placename, Year #.
    Paragraph on (preferably) significant changes (politics, the change in architecture, how characters rode on horseback, but now ride in metal ones). Something to establish the setting before introducing the cast/how these changes affect the story.
     
  3. Scarlet-MagicianX26

    Scarlet-MagicianX26 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    13
    Use this device to set up how you want the story to be structured. Since you put it as such, then I recommend structuring each 'arc' of the 'memoir' focused on a specific friend or group, the interlink characters and subplots between each arc. An overarching plot HP-style works if you have some sort of grand plan/device that means something at for the final climax of the story.
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    3,763
    Likes Received:
    5,098
    Location:
    On the Road.
    i.e. a) Multiple books focused on each main character/group, or b) one main character and multiple memoir chapters as novellas, or c) short stories/novellas from different viewpoints with an interlocking arc. Depends on what you want and how much story you have ;)
     
  5. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    3,469
    Likes Received:
    4,752
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Too many breaks in time will create validity issues in continuity of characters. A lot can happen in just a single year, so its better to try in progress the timeline more slowly. You also dont need as many earlier ones. They can be used in the form of flashbacks, or better yet, they can be told as stoties within the main story, to give a folklore sort of feel. These earlier events can simply be used as background, or inferred as well. You dont need to start with a character too early. Mystery and gray area before the events of the story gives interest and tension that straight revealing cant.
     
  6. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2020
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    14
    So you're saying I should start the story chronologically closer to the end than I expected to, and flash back to earlier to tell some of these other stories I had planned?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice