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Thread: Skipping time within a novel


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Permlink Replies: 9 - Pages: 1 - Last Post: Aug 7, 2016 8:24 AM Last Post By: B.L. Alley
Marcy Henshaw

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Registered: 09/29/12
Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 2, 2016 8:53 PM
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I'm writing book six of my series and am feeling a need to close a scene and skip forward a month or two. That's not the norm for this series. Big mistake or go with it? Thanks!
thrasherll

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Registered: 06/27/12
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 2, 2016 9:31 PM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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If it works for the story, I say go with it.

L. L. Thrasher
Ralph E Vaughan

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Registered: 12/01/12
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 2, 2016 10:56 PM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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If you have captured your reader's imaginations, they will follow where you take them.
B.L. Alley

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Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 9:16 AM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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In my first novel (and the first book of the series), I jump many months to begin act three. In my last novel I jumped 18 years in the middle of act three. Both instances served the story.
acornwriter

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Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 9:53 AM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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I don't think it's a problem. In one of my historical fictions, I jumped hundreds of years. I paid someone $300 to read it and tell me what he thought. He wrote on the page, "Whoa!" He didn't like the leap. I was trying to show the evolution of a family line and hoped readers would bond with the family and not just one member. It didn't work. I sold about fifty books in seven years. I don't jump centuries any more. One month is nothing.
Jerry Young

Posts: 384
Registered: 02/26/16
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 12:19 PM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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Time and how much passes from beginning to end of a story is one of the hardest parts of writing. I printed blank calendar pages and filled in the dates for the years (at the time projected about two years into the future) so I could keep track of what date was on what day of the week, how much time was passing etc.

If something was happening within the same day (scenes in different parts of the country and/or different characters) I didn't put the day and date at the chapter heading, but if a few days went by I would start s new chapter with the day and date (and always location).

Prologues are a different animal of course, my prologue in one novel happened 30 years before the first chapter, and in another, 30,000 years!
acornwriter

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Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 3:12 PM   in response to: Jerry Young in response to: Jerry Young
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Also, you learn tricks to avoid mentioning the dates and seasons. Lately, I've been writing stories that take place in the South. I know they sometimes get snow in New Orleans but I don't have to write too many seasonal changes. The South has plenty of sunny days. When I first started writing historical fiction, I kept track of what month it was, etc. The stories I'm writing lately, take place in good climates. Makes it easier. Keeping each story in the same timeframe is easier too. Stories are complicated enough. Anything I can do to simplify it, I do.

I hope that makes sense. I am sitting in the car outside Home Depot, waiting for my husband. It is quite hot and may be altering my thought processes. ;-)
Jerry Young

Posts: 384
Registered: 02/26/16
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 7:13 PM   in response to: acornwriter in response to: acornwriter
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Definitely the climate and weather can affect the story and of course ad atmosphere. When someone was skulking about my hero's cabin but left no tracks in the snow, for example, that worked well :)
Ned Kelly

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Registered: 09/05/15
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 6, 2016 7:20 PM   in response to: Marcy Henshaw in response to: Marcy Henshaw
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Marcy, you can do it....one way is to write the "jump point" in several ways then read it over and over till it works.

I often cheat by using date/time/places after chapter headings...

Cheers

Ned
B.L. Alley

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Registered: 06/14/14
Re: Skipping time within a novel
Posted: Aug 7, 2016 8:24 AM   in response to: Jerry Young in response to: Jerry Young
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Exactly. Too many new writers are avoiding even basic research, and their work suffers from it. I always create a calendar for my story so I can track the passage of time and be able to accurately reference events later. When I wrote my time travel novel I had a linear timeline and a calendar type timeline to track the jumps and general story. For my first novel I calculated the Moon's position to make sure it was both full and rising on a specific Monday in 2061.

Do the research. It adds depth and believability to your story.
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