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Moving the plot from one era to another.

Hi all. I'm wondering how I can move a story-line from today to the sixties? The idea is to see the character as a child and then as an adult, or vice versa. I want to do this, back and forth, throughout the story, My problem is how do I move the story-line smoothly from one era to another? I don't want it to appear there are gaps in the story telling. Maybe this is too ambitious for me, I don't know, but any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

Asked by: ELSIE BYRON

  1. Stuart Merrett 19 minutes ago

    Hi Elsie,

    I wouldn’t take all that advice from Capt Encouragement Mr Adrian there!

    This is your story, and most likely your passion, so write it however you want to.

    Luckily there is hope as a few other members have given you some great advice and even better, titles of other books written in the same style.

    I would definitely have a read of these. Maybe contact your local library, I'm sure they could help you find them. Have a notebook on hand too and break down the moments the authors jump between the time lines. Make notes on how, when and how frequently they time jump. Not to say there are set rules to this, there are not (unless you’re working with time travel then there are lots of blurry rules to navigate through - that’s science for you!) but it would just be nice from your perspective to see how that particular author has constructed their story. It will I’m sure inspire yours and who knows you might even work out a better way to transition.

    It’s always great practice to read other well-practiced, established authors of similar stories because, well they’re obviously doing something right, and once upon a time (no pun intended) they would have been in the same position you’re in now.

    Wow if we all took the attitude to leave it to the pros how could we ever strive to become one ourselves!

    Sorry I haven’t given you any advice on how to transition. I just wanted to encourage!

    Enjoy your writing.

  2. ELSIE BYRON 5 days ago

    Thank you all for your helpful advice. I will definitely take it on board and see if I can find the novels you have informed me about. Thank you again.

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  3. Andrew Newall 6 days ago

    Subtle changes could work. One paragraph could end with the child character looking through a children's book. The next paragraph could have the adult reading the same book on a kindle, remembering how she loved it. Possibly not even any need to mention time with that one. That kind of idea.

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  4. Adrian Sroka 6 days ago

    Joanne Harris, journeys back and forth in time in, Blackberry Wine.

    Margaret Atwood is another acclaimed author who travels from the present to the past, and from the past to the present, seamlessly.

    As a would-be author, I wouldn't contemplate doing it. I'll leave that to well-practised, established authors.

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  5. Amy Mager 6 days ago

    I have a similar thing with my novel in terms of constantly switching back and forth, and I think the trick it to make it consistent. Whether its through flashbacks or whole chapters, or even whole sections, make it like a rhythm for the reader.
    For instance, make each timeline Chronological/linear, for example the first time you go back to the sixties will be 1961, then 1964, then 1965. Rather than jumping from when your character was 17, to then 5, to then 10... otherwise it might get confusing for the reader.

    Also, I would make sure that each flashback chapter/section, adds some information to the 'present' in the next chapter. For example... your character hates going to the movies, and then in the sixties you see an event as to why that's the case and it gives the different eras a purpose.

    I've also found timelines difficult, but the easiest way is to map out timelines on paper to make sure you don't make mistakes.

    Lastly, one of my favourite authors is Kate Morton, she uses multiple eras (sometimes even three different time periods) and she does it so well. So maybe look at some of her work? I recommend 'The Forgotten Garden' and 'The Secret Keeper' as the best examples.

    Hope any of this is helpful and makes sense :)

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