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  1. Agent Vatani

    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    Time skips

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Agent Vatani, Feb 13, 2014.

    As a writer we have a time in our story that we skip to another scene. However, as a reader we read this. I was just wondering as both writer and reader when is too much? A year skipped in a book to much and etc..?

    Personally I have read some books that had a time skip in almost every chapter. It wasn't but a day or sometime even a week. It didn't bother me much.
     
  2. Okon

    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could skip decades/centuries/ect... per chapter, page, or even paragraph if it's handled well. It all depends on your story.

    I love that 'epic' feel that starts when we spend a time getting to know the characters, then halfway through the book it's suddenly ten years later. It's scary and unsettling, but scary and unsettling is usually what keeps us turning the pages.
     
  3. feathersinflight

    feathersinflight Member

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    Hmm...it depends I guess. Show some evolution and maturity, some hint of what happened during that time skip-what changed, what didn't, etc. Time skips, especially some big ones, can make or break a story.
     
  4. Renee J

    Renee J Contributing Member

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    When the book skips over unimportant time to get to the heart of the plot, I like time skips. When it skips over stuff I want to see, I hate it. For example, when the book shows two characters, flash forward, and suddenly they're married. I would have liked to see them at least fall in love. (Yeah, I should probably stick to romance novels if I want to see that stuff, but I still like a good romance side plot.)
     
  5. Annalise_Azevedo

    Annalise_Azevedo Member

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    I usually give a month or two time skips between books but for my final book I plan to have a five year time skip so the character have their chance to move on from the events before.

    I believe that time skips are better if their plot wise, like it takes every five years for the moon to go red or something.

    Most of the stories I read give a year or two time skip. One time, there was a story that had a seven year gap while the main characters were trapped in a frozen like state (like Aang from The Last Airbender)
     
  6. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Skipped time is usually time that the writer knows is not central to the story. In my historical, the first historical period runs from 1510 to 1537. The next one begins in 1762. Since there is also a present-day element to the story, I have a present-day chapter sandwiched in between, partly because I need to bring the present-day subplot along but also to alleviate time-travel fatigue for the reader. There are small skips of time from then on, some of only a few years and without intervening modern chapters, since I don't want to break the reader's attention at those points. The next longest break is from 1901 to 1945, and that has an intervening modern chapter. It also makes mention of certain salient events that occurred in the intervening years without chronicling them.

    Given the word count limitations with which new authors have to contend, there just wasn't any other way to approach a historical novel spanning 500 years.
     
  7. Vandor76

    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    There is a movie ("Boyhood") that was filmed during a period of 12 years (about one week each year) and shows how a boy grows up (from 6 to 18). Not only the characters are aging in a natural way but main world events (war in Iraq, Obama as president) and changes in culture are also included. Music ranges from Coldplay's "Yellow" to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky", the boy's Game Boy becomes a Wii and then he gets an iPhone, etc... This movie does not need to TELL how much time has passed as it SHOWS it :)

    It's a new movie so I don't know if it's already at cinemas.
     
  8. Bryan Romer

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    It also depends on how you leave the story just before the "skip". If anything immediate is left dangling it can be annoying to suddenly have a long skip.
     

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