31

You could try using a common element outside of any of the scenes themselves to establish a common reference point in time. For example describe Alice and Bob having a heated marriage argument but being forced to resume their happy facade by the dinner gong calling everyone together. Charlie and Danielle are describing their plans to murder the Countess ...


28

I think it may be solved using the same term consistently. From what you wrote: "the man", "his older counterpart", "his future self", "his older self", "Older Adrien", and "his other self". Those are a lot of synonyms. While they are correct and they do convey the idea, a reader is going to be pulled out if you change "the name" of a character every ...


22

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 matter until your plots converge. And then we know "what day it is" because your characters are in the same scene, or one character's actions cause effects for ...


20

I'd say there are two basic things you need to do. First, make the story based on personal attributes, personal growth, relational issues, - Anything that is timeless. You can write about the insecurities of a teenager, wanting to find their way in the world. Or about a person facing their own mortality (perhaps they have learned they are terminally ill) ...


18

If your goal is hectic momentum, then two-sentence paragraphs with a visual indicator of "scene change" might work. Colonel Mustard frantically wiped up the table. No one would believe he hadn't done it. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Miss Scarlett straightened her dress, patted her hair, and checked her makeup in her compact. She had to look impeccable or the detective ...


17

As has been pointed out, there are no "rules" stopping you from having a sequel starting within the time frame of another book in the series. "The Horse and His Boy" takes place wholly within the last few chapters of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe", for example. Thinking like a reader, if I loved a book and its ...


16

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 sidelines, echoes of which are accessible from every single other arc. Election campaign with scandal events unfolding in news. Celestial bodies in the sky ...


15

Pick a name and go with it. If the fact of the new character being future Adrien isn't a secret from the reader, you don't have to worry about names that spoil the surprise. Use whatever name Adrien himself will use. He's not going to refer internally to his future self by his own name or by something long. He'll pick a name pretty quickly, because his ...


14

It is not necessary to run different character arcs chronologically synchronized. However, it is important not to create a false impression that these arcs are synchronized. For example in "A Song of Ice and Fire" (which I refer to quite often) first 3 books George Martin tried to run all chapters chronologically. Next book was split into two ("A Feast for ...


14

One way to make the transition easier is to have more Points of View - chapters or interludes where the main character is not the POV. For example, if the main character tells someone that they are going to bed, and will see them in the morning, you can follow the other character overnight, and hand the POV back to the main character when they meet up again....


11

Creating your own world allows you to do just this. Something that is foreign enough not to seem in the past or the future, simply the present. Harry Potter for example, shows Hogwarts and the world of magic to be timeless. Sure the buildings and the mannerism is that London 100-200 years ago, but you don't feel like you are back in time, nor do you feel ...


10

As I often do, I would refer you to what I call "Sturgeon's method" (from Theodore Sturgeon, via Samuel Delany) which is to establish --for yourself --a far fuller and richer sense of the details of your fictional world than you'll actually end up putting on the page. In this particular case, I would write a complete version of Old Joe's story first, from ...


10

If it were me, I would pick a name with a common, well-known nickname, and then call the younger version exclusively by the nickname, and the older version by the full name --for instance, "Andy" and "Andrew." Andy was starting to think he didn't like "Andrew" very much. Apparently, as he got older, he was going to turn into ...


9

The Magic 2.0 series by Scott Meyer has this situation with a core character (so it's not a passing situation). The narrator and the characters identify the two as Brit the Elder and Brit the Younger. When more time-travel shenanigans happen, we also encounter Brit the Even Elder and Brit the Much Younger, which doesn't seem sustainable but these are ...


8

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 things like: They have been travelling for two weeks when... or On the third day of their journey... Second, if you don't want to skip all the travel ...


8

A "sequel" that takes place during the events of its predecessor is called a midquel (or more precisely, an "intraquel"). In your case, only the first 25% of your second book is intraquel, but the point is: not only is this allowed, but it's so common there's even a term for it. To give you another example, that's probably more relevant to your own story: ...


8

I believe the importance of chronological POVs is directly related to the tension of the story. My first attempt at a thriller required me to have everything in strict chronological order because there were three different characters/heroes (and POVs) working on three different levels of the story. The success of the heroes as a whole depended on each ...


7

Be reflective, not descriptive. For example, a guy wants to talk to a girl. Descriptive writing would specifically mention how he gets to talk to a girl - using stationary phone, cell phone, Skype-like technology or maybe even telepathically. This type of writing would likely mention scratches on the apparatus and ringing tone. Reflective writing, on the ...


6

There are a few things you can do to hide small bits of information until something is made clear until a second go through. The only piece of literature I can think of that does this well is "Where Have You Been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?" from the anthology The Future in Questions. It is a short story and may be worth a read (if you can find it anywhere). The ...


6

This rapid scene-switching works in film because you can establish exactly where you are and who you are with in an instant, with a framing shot or something else that recalls one. In a novel, you either have to re-describe the setting or you need shortcuts for recalling it. Lauren Ipsum's example of starting each short scene with the primary character's ...


5

Your question made me recall an animated Sci-Fi movie from the 80s which I absolutely enjoyed when I was a child: The art of hiding a twist is in providing a front story that completely occupies reader's attention and is quite satisfying by itself. The clues which you leave out should get some ordinary explanation and should not seem to be important until ...


5

Unless you want to do something like A Canticle for Leibowitz where three different ages are tied together in one novel under an overarching idea of nuclear fallout and the church, I think it would make the most sense to pick one story and write it first. Many fantasy/SF series have in universe continuities that don't match the publication order (e.g. C.S. ...


5

I'm working on a similar premise. No bombs in my world, they return to the ~stone age through other means, but five inflection points in human history play out with details specific to the new system. I think making the groupings stand on their own is important. I think it is also important to give thought to the largest arc (the ~30,000 year arc you are ...


5

Clarify each character's motivation in the scene. The best way to keep dialog straight is when the dialog makes sense. This shouldn't be any different than any other two characters engaged in dialog. The limited-POV MC certainly won't be confused by which one of the two is speaking. Stick closely with him since he can lampshade the weirdness of talking to ...


5

One thing you could do is divide the book in Parts that encompass several chapters and possibly even label them by the point of view character.


5

It's done all the time: I wouldn't worry too much about this. Characters leave the main story all the time and pop up later - sometimes whole books later. At that point, you need to be sure they are tied back in (especially if they had a mysterious death or the like). But readers accept it. That's not your question, though. If you want to emphasize that the ...


4

The most obvious, simplest and platform-independent way to achieve your request is to format the blog title entries as: YYYY-MM-DD : title Another alternative, suggested by Michael Kjörling is to alter the publication date. This works very well if all your blog entries are about events in the past. I have used this approach for a news blog, in which ...


4

I don't think it is too important. I read a story (can't remember the name) in which two POVs were presented, one from like a century ago, and one in the future! The early POV was an ancestor of the later POV, and his descendant was unraveling a mystery about his ancestor, while the early POV was actually about the circumstances that led to this mystery, ...


4

Here's an example of multiple timelines done in a way I found not just confusing, but random and unnecessary. Chronological can mean in order by date and time, or it can mean that the different POVs line up with each other (even if each story is moving forward). My example is more of the former but also contains the latter. A Place for Us by Fatima ...


4

This is a frame challenge. I think your issue could also be that your characters do not have a distinct voice. A 15 years old sounds different from a 20 years old. I am not referring to the timbre of their voices, which should also be different. The vocabulary is different, the ability to articulate their thoughts is different. Even their logic, their ...


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