How & Why to Skip Time in Your Novel [Novel Boot Camp 15]

Skipping time is often necessary when writing a novel. You might need to convey different stages of your characters’ lives or you might want to jump over the time your character spends in a boring situation. In this video I go over how and why you might need to make minor and major jumps in time. If you have any questions about skipping time, let me know in the comments.

Comment Questions: Do you find it difficult to skip time? Do you try to avoid skipping time?

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6 thoughts on “How & Why to Skip Time in Your Novel [Novel Boot Camp 15]

  1. Jen (Full of Love) (@gluedwithgold) says:

    I often jump small portions of time in my stories, and usually I do just as you mentioned – just a small phrase to orient the reader – “Two week later” or “Later in the week”. I also sometimes use days of the week or months, although that needs to be established throughout – if I mention that it’s October to establish a month has gone by, I make sure I’ve mentioned it was September in the earlier part. This has the drawback of needing to keep track, but I keep notes on things like that as I’m writing, so adding a little timeline in my notebook isn’t a big deal.

    I have yet to write a storyline that uses large jumps in time – my plots just aren’t that complex yet. But it’s good to know that when/if I use a larger jump, it needs to be handled a little differently. Thanks!

  2. Tanya says:

    Wow! I actually had this question and I didn’t even think it was a question others had. While I was writing I found that I was almost incapable of skipping moments even a simple shower! Or eating! Should I assume the reader knows the protagonist will clean themselves up and eat something after an intense part in the novel?

  3. Tracey D says:

    Hi Ellen,
    While I’m not planning on writing something like Rutherford’s _Sarum_, I am writing a multi-generational novel and have some fairly large jumps in time. Do you have any specific advice for such time skips that would are different from what you have already offered so succinctly for shorter time skips? I’m probably crazy to take on such a project, but the idea just came and asked to be written 🙂 Thank you!

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