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Old 04-19-2019, 08:43 PM   #1
secretLace
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How do you handle a jump in time?

I'm curious how you show the reader that time has passed? Take the following simple example:

-------------
”Maybe we should put your rather impressive tongue on display as well?” She panted as he peeled the panties down and started to lick the wet folds sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue.

Jane hugged them both as they entered her rather spacious studio in the back of the gallery. She moved into the centre of the room where a weird half finished furniture was placed.
------------

Here the sex scene ends and time has passed as they now are in a different place. When you read it you want to feel the scene end and another take place. How would you do it?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:52 PM   #2
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I had a problem with this early on, I thought I wrote transitions that worked, but some of my kindly peers here let me know that they were not as effective as i thought they were.

***

Now I use a 3 asterisk break.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
I'm curious how you show the reader that time has passed? Take the following simple example:
I don't feel like your example provides enough to work with.

I like doing transitions like that mostly in mid-paragraph. For instance, start the paragraph with an observation about how things are before the change, and end it with how things were different after the change.

In the case below, they start in a restaurant and transition to a hotel room several days later.

Quote:
Kate watched Toby's reactions while she spoke, and she kept watching him through the following days -- the way he protected her in crowds at the airport or on the beach, the attention he paid to her stories, and his ever-increasing annoyance when she tried to make decisions for him. Kate was still watching Toby when he finalized his school work, laid his laptop on the coffee table and glanced into her bedroom. They had an hour and a half before the awards banquet.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:41 PM   #4
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There are conditions in which what you wrote is fine--if you want to jolt the reader with the transition.

You can also sectionalize it: space/* * * */space

For big jumps you can do what I just now did in writing a book:

Daufuskie Island
South Carolina Colony
3 May 1773


(text)

* * * *

Shelter Cove
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
3 May 2019


(text)
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:58 PM   #5
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Ect...

***

The next morning. Ect....
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
Here the sex scene ends and time has passed as they now are in a different place. When you read it you want to feel the scene end and another take place. How would you do it?
As others have noted, I use a break marker:

* * * *

and include something in the first sentence or paragraph to indicate who is in the new scene, and the time and/or location context. It doesn't need to be elaborate, just enough for the reader to figure out what's going on.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:30 PM   #7
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I second/third/fourth the '***'.

It's simple and clear.
If it's a long piece and it fits with your pacing, chapters may work too.


Sidenote: in trad publishing, increasing the spacing between paragraphs and removing the first line indent is the recognised method*. The asterisk break is seen as de trop and indicative of low-quality publishing by some.
(Unless your formatter is shit hot, it's all too easy to run scenes together.)

However, specialised formatting won't work for Lit stories, and asterisk breaks are more reliable than double spacing, etc.


*can't recall the official terms, but you'll know it when you see it.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redzinger View Post
in trad publishing, increasing the spacing between paragraphs and removing the first line indent is the recognised method*. The asterisk break is seen as de trop and indicative of low-quality publishing by some.
(Unless your formatter is shit hot, it's all too easy to run scenes together.)

However, specialised formatting won't work for Lit stories, and asterisk breaks are more reliable than double spacing, etc.
Agree this - the traditional publishing method looks better because of the wider separation of the text blocks - but as you say, not do-able on Lit.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redzinger View Post

Sidenote: in trad publishing, increasing the spacing between paragraphs and removing the first line indent is the recognised method*
The extra spacing/line feed between sections works at the publisher's set-up end, but it doesn't work well before that. An editor has to always consider that it might just be a mistake (which it often is) and has to query it.

On not indenting the first paragraph after a section head, yes that's standard in publishing. It drives me up the wall that the Amazon process doesn't do it.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:08 PM   #10
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wow, thank you all for the fast response.

I'm using the * * * as well but I feel that it is rather intrusive so I wanted to see how everyone felt.
Now I can use the * * * with more confidence.

Thank you all again for your comments.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
I'm curious how you show the reader that time has passed? Take the following simple example:

-------------
”Maybe we should put your rather impressive tongue on display as well?” She panted as he peeled the panties down and started to lick the wet folds sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue.

Jane hugged them both as they entered her rather spacious studio in the back of the gallery. She moved into the centre of the room where a weird half finished furniture was placed.
------------

Here the sex scene ends and time has passed as they now are in a different place. When you read it you want to feel the scene end and another take place. How would you do it?
The most important advice has already been given. The ***** followed by a double space is my standard. But in some stories the timeline/location can get confusing. In these, in addition to the *****, a simple date or location might be required. In one story of mine, I did a short line of rhyme that built one upon the other through every major shift in time/place. Or you can subtitle each chapter/scene break if it works.

It also helps, in my opinion, to wrap up the chapter with some manner of closure. For example in the last line of your break above; '...sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue. As she surrendered to the sensations between her legs, her thoughts drifted to how this night had turned out better than expected.' (Of course, that's just made up and probably out of context, but you get the idea...it ended the scene, etc.)

Putting it all together, it would read;

”Maybe we should put your rather impressive tongue on display as well?” She panted as he peeled the panties down and started to lick the wet folds sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue. As she surrendered to the sensations between her legs, her thoughts drifted to how this night had turned out better than expected.
*****

Jane hugged them both as they entered her rather spacious studio in the back of the gallery. She moved into the centre of the room where a weird half finished furniture was placed.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
wow, thank you all for the fast response.

I'm using the * * * as well but I feel that it is rather intrusive so I wanted to see how everyone felt.
Now I can use the * * * with more confidence.

Thank you all again for your comments.
I use transitions in text as well as the "* * *" breaks. For me, a transition in text handles the situation where there are ongoing changes in the interval, and the break implies a clean gap. If you create the gap, but it really isn't a clean break, then the gap can be filled in later. I'd rather keep the story moving forward instead of spending words to say what happened while we weren't looking.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
wow, thank you all for the fast response.

I'm using the * * * as well but I feel that it is rather intrusive so I wanted to see how everyone felt.
Now I can use the * * * with more confidence.

Thank you all again for your comments.


I don't like it, either, but it is the best option.
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:55 AM   #14
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Well, as usual, I seem to being going up the down staircase.

I tend to use either a single period or a single plus sign instead of asterisks.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
I'm curious how you show the reader that time has passed? Take the following simple example:

------------

Here the sex scene ends and time has passed as they now are in a different place. When you read it you want to feel the scene end and another take place. How would you do it?
Asterisks are fine if a break is wanted.

If we have the same characters in two episodes that continue the same action where it was left, just after two days randomly spent watching color dry and flies drowning in melted icecream, and there's no desire to describe those activities in detail, a simple lead in in the next scene might be enough. A lead out of the previous scene is more optional in my opinion, but also helpful.


"Maybe we should put your rather impressive tongue on display as well?” She panted as he peeled the panties down and started to lick the wet folds sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue. ”Maybe we should put your rather impressive tongue on display as well?” She panted as he peeled the panties down and started to lick the wet folds sucking each lip into his mouth and massaging it with his tongue. It wasn't before two hours of intense pleasure they fell into early morning nap as a pile of exhausted bodies.

Two days later,
Jane hugged them both as they entered her rather spacious studio in the back of the gallery. She moved into the centre of the room where a weird half finished furniture was placed.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:11 AM   #16
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What all the others here have stated...

* * * *

Some times I use these instead...

~~~~~

And sometimes I go completely fancy...


~~oOo~~

Or

~~~~ Janus ~~~~ <--- the story was called the Brotherhood of Janus
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretLace View Post
wow, thank you all for the fast response.

I'm using the * * * as well but I feel that it is rather intrusive so I wanted to see how everyone felt.
Now I can use the * * * with more confidence.

Thank you all again for your comments.
As I noted, you don't have to do more in such a transition but to clearly present it as a change of scene/time/place. The example you give could go as is in what we know from the context (not a total change of issue) if you didn't want to do a dramatic section change.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:58 PM   #18
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Tangentially related: is there a preferred method that serves as a literary equivalent to a montage? ie, multiple short jumps in time close together?

I only ask because while the three star break doesn't seem remotely intrusive for a single jump in time, I would consider it a bit heavy handed if it were dispensed every paragraph or so.
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyacrylate View Post
Tangentially related: is there a preferred method that serves as a literary equivalent to a montage? ie, multiple short jumps in time close together?

I only ask because while the three star break doesn't seem remotely intrusive for a single jump in time, I would consider it a bit heavy handed if it were dispensed every paragraph or so.
Agreed. The three-star break is accepted as a standard on this site, and most authors make use of it. Over-use like you're describing would be tough for readers--much like multiple paragraphs in italic font.

For a montage, I don't think you need the break until the end of it. I would begin the montage with some descriptor like, "Over the next three months, Josh became steadily stronger. He was eager to regain his health following the lengthy coma. At first, he could barely lift his body from the bed, but he was highly motivated after the show the sexy nurses had given him. It took a week before he could stand without assistance..."

Perhaps this montage takes three or four paragraphs, as you give the details of the little scenes you want for your montage. After that, you insert your three-star break and describe what else has been going on or let the reader know that the time interval has passed.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redzinger View Post
I second/third/fourth the '***'.

It's simple and clear.

I've used that as well.

I use other devices to let the reader know I've shifted gears, so to speak. I might change from past tense to present tense, have another character do the narration, or even shift from first person to second person. In all cases, though, the change must not confuse readers any more than they might already be confused.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:45 PM   #21
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use a time stamp. Its well used and works for video games and movies and tv shows.

Hell, it was a standard for some crime shows back in the day.

Tuesday, april 5th, 3:45 pm. Detective Friday and me went to the garage on james street and 3rd avenue........
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:07 PM   #22
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Thank you again for all the good comments. Lupus pointed out that you could do a more clean transition if you just add a few sentences. Probably the best way for sure but sometimes I'm lazy or to focused to get a head while the creative drive takes me forward :-)
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:01 AM   #23
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All you have to do to handle a jump in time is to skip a line--or print three dots.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:08 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemma_0 View Post
All you have to do to handle a jump in time is to skip a line--or print three dots.
If you just skip a line, the formatting program, or whatever you call it, thinks it's an error and corrects it.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:13 AM   #25
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If you just skip a line, the formatting program, or whatever you call it, thinks it's an error and corrects it.
No, it doesn't.
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