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  1. Gallowglass

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Novel spanning long periods of time

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gallowglass, Aug 5, 2011.

    I recently started a historical fiction novel that covers the life of a 14th century ruler. I was thinking that each chapter or series of chapters could do one particular year in their life (1375, 1376, 1380, etc.) but want to know if there are any better ways of going about this.

    Much appreciated,

    Gallowglass
     
  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds like it would be more like a diary that way, than a compelling novel... is this about a real person, or one you made up?
     
  3. Dresden

    Dresden New Member

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    deleted.
     
  4. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You don't have to cover every single time period, only the ones that the interesting parts of the story take place in. If a string of crucial events happen in his childhood, and the rest of the story's conflict happens in adulthoold, skip the teen years altogether. You could have a chapter that jumped 20 years in time.
     
  5. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you write down to your readers, you will only sell to stupid readers.

    Respect your readers if you want them to respect you.

    Gallowglass: Read anything by James Michener. There are other novelists whose stories span decades, but he comes to mind immediately.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Readers are generally a lot smarter than beginning/amateur writers give them credit for, thus the tendency to over-explain and info dump.
     
  7. Gallowglass

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for that example, Cognito. I'm sure that'll come in handy. I also think Mallory's suggestion of skipping the boring parts would come in handy. This is about a real person, Domhnall II of the Isles (Donald Macdonald).

    Thanks everyone.
     
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
  9. Mikeyface

    Mikeyface Member

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    Don't let anyone tell you something is a bad idea, or that an audience is stupid. Understand the problem, and solve it.

    If you want the audience to follow you through a characters life-- give us the information we need in a palatable manner. Maybe after you skip forward in time: he has a beard now, his legs are much more sore than in his youth, etc etc.

    Let us feel the passage of time, and we'll grok the necessary.
     

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