Re: Time Skip Tips?

#1
I feel like writing time skips in my story is particularly hard. I often skip time ahead for short amounts of time such as a few weeks or a month, but I find it difficult to have a satisfying skip. Since I'm writing in a fantasy / tribal setting, I can't really have a clock or calendar. Descriptions of the weather usually give a rough indication of time, but I don't want to rely on that since I can't just change the season for every skip.

So I wanted to ask you guys:

1) How do you guys like to tackle your time skips?
2) Any dos and donts? (I know blatantly saying X time has passed is a don't)
3) Any tips for my particular case?

Thank you for your responses in advance.

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#2
HyperAlphaKing Wrote: (I know blatantly saying X time has passed is a don't)

I do this all the time. 'Show don't tell' has its limitations, and a lot of the time it's easier for everyone involved if you just say 'three weeks later we met at the pub for our dance off.' I have a five-year time skip between chapter 2 and 3, so I say 'five years later' to avoid confusion. I use the same technique several times, saying 'the next day,' or 'a few hours passed' etc. Sure, I don't centre align and bolded at the top of each chapter, but sometimes there's no other way to announce that time has passed. You don't always need to be subtle.

HyperAlphaKing Wrote: Since I'm writing in a fantasy / tribal setting, I can't really have a clock or calendar.

I'm sure most tribal people have some form of calendar, even if it doesn't match what we have today. Research ancient calendars for some inspiration if you need to. Even if they don't, they'd need to keep track of the seasons or the segments within each season for agricultural purposes, or for migration patterns if they're nomadic. You can show the time through the natural, such as 'when the snow started to melt,' 'when we saw the first geese arrived on the lake,' 'after the bears had disappeared for their hibernation.' Even if that doesn't suit you, count the days (two days later, thirty days later). Surely they count the days, or tell the time with the stars and constellations.

HyperAlphaKing Wrote: 2) Any dos and donts? (I know blatantly saying X time has passed is a don't)
3) Any tips for my particular case?

You don't need to break into a new chapter every time you jump forwards in time. I've read chapter's that last for five minuets, ones that last for months, and ones with multiple time skips. So long as they follow a connected sequence of events that makes sense to include in a single chapter, anything goes.

Don't overthink it. Sometimes it's beneficial for time and location jumps to be mundane so they don't distract the flow of the narrative. You don't need to force each one to be grand and exciting, because that can get repetitive. Only draw attention to a time jump if it's really significant.

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#3
the single most important tip regarding time skip is to make sure your not skipping something the readers actually want to read.

as a writer it is hard to understand what your readers feel and think one they read the work for the first time.
therefore, it is hard to know what they feel and think, and to where they wish the story, as it is at the point they reach, to take them.

its like the first battle you see in game of thrones, and they skip the battle with a time skip (tyrion get knocked unconscious). very annoying and poorly done time skip.
like, you wait like 2 seasons for some action, and when they reach it finally, they just skip it...

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#5
In most cases you cant get away with not noting the "skip" for what it is. There are usually just not enough obvious visual or tactile clues as to whether its ahead or in the past, or how far. Or why. It falls to narrative demarcation.  Otherwise, perhaps if the skips are a device used routinely by the plot, as with a time machine, or wormhole passage, and the expectation that "tripping out" occurs  with each use, that might suffice as a signal.

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#6

HyperAlphaKing Wrote:
emperor Wrote: the single most important tip regarding time skip is to make sure your not skipping something the readers actually want to read.



Naturally,

I always skip the boring stuff. Why would I skip a fight scene? Those are the best parts to write!

that might not always be obvious.

what's boring to you might be the reason a reader read your story in the first place.
some writers actually skip some fight scenes because they think it not add anything to the story, but the readers actually sometimes want to see that scene just for this.
the only good advise in this case, is to write what you love to read , in the genre you love and undersand, and that also suit to what you like writing.

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#7

HyperAlphaKing Wrote: I feel like writing time skips in my story is particularly hard. I often skip time ahead for short amounts of time such as a few weeks or a month, but I find it difficult to have a satisfying skip. Since I'm writing in a fantasy / tribal setting, I can't really have a clock or calendar. Descriptions of the weather usually give a rough indication of time, but I don't want to rely on that since I can't just change the season for every skip.

So I wanted to ask you guys:

1) How do you guys like to tackle your time skips?
2) Any dos and donts? (I know blatantly saying X time has passed is a don't)
3) Any tips for my particular case?

Well, first, you can absolutely say that a certain amount of time has passed. 

Second, while I don't know how advanced your tribe of goblins is, I figure they've got to at least be smart enough for agriculture. That means they can identify seasons as more than just "warm time" versus "cold time." Any farming culture needs to know when to start planting, which means they know when to mark the solstices and equinoxes. And yes, while it's not as important, hunter-gatherers would know this as well; they just typically don't bother marking them to predict when it happens ahead of time. 

So in your world, you can easily have seasons and years. Below that, you can have months; or if you prefer, moons. The two words are ultimately related, if you trace them far enough back in linguistic history; and both are likely related to an ancient Proto-Indo-European verb for to measure. If your world has more than one moon, just pick the moon that most easily divides into a year. 

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#8
peoconfused I had a ten year timeskip. When my char had to go away, she told her friend "I gtg for 10 years, cya later." Simple and clean way is the best, IMO. For the rest, I do not believe it is even necessary to mention that x days have passed. Writing a story doesn't mean you need to write about each and every day.

Chapter 10 - char is looking for an apartment
Chapter 11 - char found one. I didn't mention the exact number of days but readers know time has passed

Unless time is super important, there's no need to say exactly how much time has passed. It will naturally reveal itself, right? In your case, something like:

Chapter 200 - char preparing winter clothing
Chapter 201 - char putting away winter/cold weather clothing 

Or you just describing the environment would work - "snow was falling" then "the ground was muddy from the melting snow." 
Something like that should work.

Re: Time Skip Tips?

#10
I think you should also consider, in addition to the society, the narrator itself and the characters. In the story I'm writing now, the main character/narrator doesn't pay attention to small time details, but will notice major events/seasons/etc. However, there are several characters that are meticulous about keeping track of time, so occasionally they will mention how much time has passed since some other event. 

If I need to specify, I like to find a way that feels organic to the scenes/characters, but I don't think it's bad to outright say that x time has passed if it's important. I think as a reader I only notice time when it's handled poorly, for example if a lot happens in an unrealistically short period of time, or if time descriptions seem inaccurate.