Skip to main content
34 votes
Accepted

How do you make characters relatable if they exist in a completely different moral context?

There is no problem at all with writing morally ambiguous characters, and it's surprisingly easy for readers to sympathise with them. Let us look at some examples: First, a modern example: A Song of ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

How can I show time passing with no way to measure time?

What sort of time period are we looking at? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Over a period of hours, it's going to be things like the angle of shadows (how high in the sky the sun is), the temperature,...
Chronocidal's user avatar
  • 2,136
22 votes
Accepted

How to continually and organically let my readers know what time it is in my story?

It is probably not going to be possible to keep your readers aware of the time and date all the time, at least not in an organical manner. However, with regards to telling the timeline, it doesn't ...
Erk's user avatar
  • 6,100
20 votes
Accepted

How can I indicate time passing?

What does the time spend hiding do to your character? Pick things that start off easy to manage, but becomes hard to maintain (especially under stress or pressure), and talk about those. For example,...
Chronocidal's user avatar
  • 2,136
18 votes

How do you make characters relatable if they exist in a completely different moral context?

I think it's mostly a modern delusion that ethics today are dramatically different than they were in the past. Yes, ancient Persia routinely tortured political prisoners. So do modern China and ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 25.6k
16 votes

How to continually and organically let my readers know what time it is in my story?

I found using dates/hours gets hard to track for the readers. They get ignored and the reader gets confused by the time skip. I believe the best way is to have an overreaching "loud" story arc in the ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 15.4k
16 votes

How can I indicate time passing?

One possibility is to just say that time has passed. "The two men sat staring at each other, neither saying a word, for fifteen minutes." Another possibility is to fill the time with action. If the ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 25.6k
12 votes

Little disjointed scenes

Question: How to tie 'choppy' short scenes together? Answer: Tie them together with an overarching 'internal journey' that defines this character uniquely and carries through all the lessons. It ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
10 votes
Accepted

The advantages and disadvantages of Fantasy-time

Constraints! I would be interested in both; the historically accurate vs the "alternative history" or "general past" setting. I'd also suggest there is a spectrum; at least I see ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 102k
10 votes

How do you make characters relatable if they exist in a completely different moral context?

The first thing to remember is that realism is just a style. If historical accuracy is hurting your story, let it go. Even historical fiction isn't "history." In particular, it can be enough to hint ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
10 votes

How can I show time passing with no way to measure time?

Changes of light, of temperature, of weather, of season. Unremembered wear in clothing, the healing of wounds, loss of physical condition. Hair longer than ever before. Sudden brutal grooming from the ...
Peter Wone's user avatar
9 votes

When writing Sci-Fi whats a good way to determine the year?

Assuming that your characters relationship with the past is similar to your own, look back through historically significant events until you find one that feels old enough but not too old. Also ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
9 votes
Accepted

How can you put a lot of time-skips as soon as possible in a story?

Now, I don't know if you would consider my suggestion within the 'rewriting' domain, but if "the good stuff" begins later in the story, perhaps the story itself should start closer to those ...
storbror's user avatar
  • 2,656
8 votes

How do I show a long amount of time has passed?

One way to show passage of time is by referring to time-based events. Over the course of a year you can use seasons for this; if we see your characters walking through the snow, and next see them ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
8 votes

How should I deal with travel time in fantasy?

There are three ways you can deal with long journeys. First, skipping time is a time-honoured tradition. If nothing happens during the time of travel, you can just skip it. It is quite common to read ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
8 votes

Writing a story about a immortal character

Start with the present It's common practice (for good reason) to introduce a long-lived character into the actual story you're actually interested in, and just gradually fill in what's necessary ...
Jedediah's user avatar
  • 8,669
8 votes
Accepted

What chapter timestamp to use in fantasy time travel novel?

I think this sounds like a strong concept for a book I would like to read. But I also think your question is disguising a deeper issue --your prologue is giving away things you seem to want to keep ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
8 votes

How can I indicate time passing?

My favorite way to pass time to to make the characters get lost in their thoughts. What was that? A floorboard creeking? It must just be a mouse. At least Jim hoped it was. It wasn't supposed to end ...
Caspian's user avatar
  • 1,475
7 votes
Accepted

How do I cover many years with little activity without it feeling rushed?

Your example is kind of a bad one for this situation. If we did this, then, the movie like castaway would only be about 20 minutes long. Shows him being stranded, skip his surviving on the island, ...
ggiaquin16's user avatar
  • 4,589
7 votes
Accepted

Little disjointed scenes

Does he have any friends there? One solution is to push the training camp into the background. The problem sounds like you don't have enough conflict, your scenes come up short. I'd focus on some ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 102k
7 votes

Little disjointed scenes

I'm dealing with some similar problems, on a smaller scale. The first third of my novel is composed of short chapters that move the story along. All the emphasis is on getting to the main location. ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
7 votes
Accepted

What format should I use when beginning a chapter with the time and location of the events?

Depends. If it's a one-off indication, you should introduce it as prose: "It was 9 P.M. on a Sunday in Los Angeles..." But I assume that's not the case, maybe you're writing a thriller, and you're ...
Friendly Neighborhood Demon's user avatar
7 votes

How can I radically time-jump for my epilogue well?

Tense and second-person aside, you should handle this just as you would any other transition. Set the scene, reflect on the past, and then summerise the outcome. I'd do something like this: You put ...
Matthew Brown aka Lord Matt's user avatar
7 votes

How can I show time passing with no way to measure time?

I think George R. R. Martin does this quite well in his various novels. A good few characters in A Song of Ice and Fire are locked up at some point, and GRRM always dedicated a good couple of pages at ...
Ingolifs's user avatar
  • 429
6 votes
Accepted

How to show time lapse between two chapters?

Sometime in the chapter's first sentence or paragraph, simply state that there has been a time jump, either by stating the difference (10 years later...) or by stating the new date (or both). There's ...
Adam Miller's user avatar
6 votes

How often can I use time lapses?

You should use time-lapses as many times as you need them, unless you want to tell the story of your characters minute-by-minute, day-by-day. I think time lapses are more or less a necessity if you ...
shieldedtulip's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How often can I use time lapses?

As often as needed. Remember novels like Roots [Alex Haley] that cross something like six generations of people, a few centuries of time. Then get compressed to a two-hour timeframe for the Movie! ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 102k
6 votes

The advantages and disadvantages of Fantasy-time

High fantasy rarely bears much resemblance to "capital H" history even when it has been inspired by a particular period as magic rather than technology tends to dominate the setting. Instead high ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 10k
6 votes

20 Minutes into the Future - problem with setting the period

I suppose I can mention a year, but that would make the work dated the moment the year passes. I don't think it's really possible to do it without making reference to some time period. I would've ...
tryin's user avatar
  • 2,468
6 votes
Accepted

How to skip over a long period of time

People change as they grow and gain experience. That's part of life, and part of any story that covers a long time span. You have to bring your character to a point where your readers will expect ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 3,157

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible