Can a time skip be longer than the main story?

let's say this is basically how the story goes:


AB is 300 pages

C is 10 pages

DE is 100 pages

F is 20 pages

Does this make sense? What are some rules for timeskips? Or we can do anything we want?

  • what do the letters represent?
    – NofP
    Jan 29, 2022 at 10:03
  • 1
    I'm assuming the letters represent an In medias res opening.
    – wetcircuit
    Jan 29, 2022 at 11:51
  • 1
    @NofP I think I figured it out. In order of reading, you get A B C D E F. But we have a Star Wars chronology thing, where we see the middle first, then the beginning, then the end afterwards. C being the middle, AB as a major flashback to before C, and then DE as the result. F is then the resolution.
    – Murphy L.
    Jan 29, 2022 at 18:03
  • Timeskip typically refers to a sudden leap forward in time. It can happen at any place in a story or for any gap in years, although it's commonly used (1) to leap children into adulthood or otherwise to suddenly advance from a low-stakes introductory/educational/childhood/youth/rookie story to something more mature/adult/life-and-death or (2) at the end to leap forward in time and show how characters ended up (as in Harry Potter).
    – Stuart F
    Jan 31, 2022 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


About time-skips: time-skips can be as long as you want/need them to be.

In 2001 Space Odyssey there is a significant time-skip at the beginning of the movie, going from showing the ancestors of humans to full-fledged space travel.

In the Count of Montecristo we also have a time-skip of several years, and that occurs after a good chunk of the novel. The events in the gap are only barely hinted at later. This serves the purpose of giving time to the MC to undergo some profound changes.

Many crime novels start with the murder only to go back to a time before the murder, reconnect to the murder and show the investigation after the murder has taken place. This is also acceptable, and starting with the murder, i.e. sort of in the middle of the action, often hooks the reader more than a bland introduction.

Finally, flashbacks / flashforwards are perfectly acceptable in just any length. Just make sure that it is clear to the reader what time period they are reading about.

About whether your question makes sense: your notation does not make sense.

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