Effectively doing time-skips? And what makes an opening considered slow?
I've been working on writing a story for a while, and something has been troubling me. Is it okay to have chapters that focus on developing relationships and connections between characters? Even if they don't have anything with forwarding the plot of the novel? In my prologue, the MC is taken in as a child by a farmer. It feels odd to put a super large time skip to when he is old, and simply say that the MC and this farmer have a father/son relationship and care for one another. The farmer has a great influence on the MC's behaviour and actions moving forward and I wanted readers to be able to understand how and why. As a result, I was considering putting small segments of their life as they grow so readers can see their relationship developing little by little, instead of simply being told that it is.
But I've read in a lot of forums and articles online that there shouldn't be a slow opening or readers begin to lose interest. I suppose my question is, is it okay to have a chapter or two developing a relationship before getting into the "actual" story? Is that something readers would like to see or would that cause them to lose interest?
And if not, is there a better way to do a time-skip from the prologue and still be able to portray how two characters have grown to care for one another?
I'm really sorry! I know I'm asking for a lot of questions in one thread, and I appreciate any advice I can get.
At the same time though, the probably won't strike a chord with the majority of RR's readership.
Typically, it's a good structure for the pace to try for a good mix of action followed by reaction or have a high-stakes moment, then slow it down for the next scene and do building stuff.
I think that Selena's Reign: Golden Gryphon has been received well with a slower pace. Maybe you would want to check out the beginning there, although the main character Zephyrin does not bond with his family really....
If you want to do a fast-forward, Up is a great example to try and emulate. A quick montage of meaningful scenes that convey an overall theme.
On the other hand, have you considered simply just starting the story later on? If his being adopted isn't important to how the story starts, you can just leave it out until later.
As far as slow starts... my personal feelings is that the first chapter should have a really good hook at the beginning, and at least a hint at the plot before the end. The first line or two should have something that grabs my interest, at least somewhat. After that, I'll usually read a few thousand words, at which point something else interesting should have come in to keep me around. As long as that's happening, it can be written a million and one different ways; there's no one particular thing that makes it feel 'slow'.
Well... Probably the worst openings I've read have been prologues that try and explain some world building concept. Personally, I won't care about the world building until I care about the world.
It's all about if you can keep the promise of your premise or not, because different kinds of readers may be looking for different stories. Someone who enjoys a slow-paced, wholesome family slife of life may not be as interested in, say, a grimdark adventure story. If that's what you want your story to turn into after your MC has grown up and left home, you must be upfront about it and hint at it in the beginning.
Magic Blacksmith is on indefinite hiatus I think but it did a good job mixing slower family/growing up stuff with the action and combat elements and that story did very well on RR. Check it out if you haven't already.