1. Mysticwriter612

    Mysticwriter612 New Member

    Dec 12, 2013
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    Time gap inquery

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mysticwriter612, Dec 28, 2013.

    This is going to be hard to explain so try to work with me on this one.

    I am working on a story and I have this grand picture of how it is all supposed to come together. Right now it has three "sections". The first is, in a sense, a flashback of my character's first kill. I have him and his victim have a conversation which gives the reader his background story while also giving them a visual as to how twisted he is. This is essential. From there starts a five year time gap. After that gap I have a paragraph of his deranged thoughts which is what ties the title into the story and sets some stones for what happened in the five years. From that paragraph on there is another 2 year time gap and then the story starts.

    During the five year time gap he finishes a demented project of his as he accumulates 11 more victims. This is not what the story is about. The story is about his struggle as he realizes killing is not behind him. It starts two years after he completes his project.

    For the five year time gap I simply used "The thoughts of Dr. Vincent Ryland five years later..." then input the paragraph of his thoughts. I feel okay with that but if anyone has any suggestions let me know.

    My trouble is the next time gap. Not too far into the story starting I will, through dialog and events, show the reader that he moved back home two years ago in hopes he has moved on from his dark past. Events will take place and he will spiral back into his insanity.

    For some reason using another one line of narration looks, feels, and seems "wrong". Four pages of vivid imagery and dialog, a one line explaining 5 years pass, his thoughts after those five years, a one liner saying two years pass, and finally the story starts. I've seen authors do weirder things but I was just hoping someone here would have alternative ideas. I don't want to write it all out. This story is about his attempt at living a normal life and how it is failing and goes on to show, while he kills innocent people, he is still a great adoptive son, a great friend, and helps his community. I do not want to write about his first victims because I want him, as the story goes on, to reflect back to them. If I finish this story and end up liking it enough I might make a second book as a prequel.

    So with all that said let's hear the ideas =) I am just not too sure how to "style" the time gaps so it's still smooth and not confusing. The one line narrations WORK, but seem wrong. Let me know if they aren't wrong.

    Thanks to anyone who helps =)
  2. joanna

    joanna Active Member

    May 25, 2010
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    I would ask first why what you have now seems wrong to you. Is it unclear? Contrived? Not written in a compelling way? Is the structure distracting from the narrative? If you were somebody else reading it, would you grasp it and appreciate it? What sorts of techniques, perhaps ones you have seen work well in other stories, would help alleviate these problems?

    Hopefully exploring these types of questions will lead you to a beginning that is more satisfying. I don't know what that should be. I am wondering whether each event that is separated by years could be its own chapter.
  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
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    Ralph's side of the island.
    This is just my reaction, not knowing how you've written it which is the actual thing that matters:

    I'm not sure I see the reason for the middle stuff. An opening scene of a deranged killer ... the story begins X years later and you can bring the rest of the middle events in as backstory reveals.
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Scene transitions are what bridge the gap in time, space, and POV between scenes. There is not a single way to accomplish them, but you cannot become a writer without arming yourself with a range ot transition strategies. The best way to collect such strategies is to read extensively, and to specifically observe how other authors manage those transitions.

    The transitions can be in different locations at the same time, or the same location at different times, or separated by distances ranging from meters to billions of parsecs. They can be separated by seconds or millenia. They can even be the identaical place and time, but perceived through a different character's perceptions.

    But although transitions vary widely, they all have common elements. The most important is the need to smoothly and efficiently notify the reader that the previous scene has ended, and to just as smoothly and efficiently orient the reader into the new scene and POV. And that begins by establishing what has changed.

    You can communicate a transition explicitly or implicitly. You can put up a tag line, particularly when the new scene begins a chapter, with a date, the name of a location, and/or the name of the new POV character. You can start with, "The next morning, ..." These are explicit transitions.

    For implicit transitions, you work in cues that clearly identify the changed element. For example, if the previous scene was a conversation on a moonlight walk, a paragraph that indicates the hazy midday sun signals a passage of at least several hours. Or if that moonlight walk was the beginning of a romantic relationship, starting the next scene with a young child tugging at the covers and excitedly waking Daddy marks the passage of years.

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