02 03 Melody Jackson, Author: My Biggest Writing Challenge: Time Lapses 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

My Biggest Writing Challenge: Time Lapses

Most writers struggle with sitting down at their work station and just staring at a blank paper/screen with no clue what to write. Oddly enough, that's not a problem for me. I can even just write nonsense until I get my brain flowing enough to write my actual story. Really, it's like I'm constantly writing, but only part of it makes it to the paper/screen, haha.

But, though I don't struggle with getting started from nothing (if I have an idea of what to write), I do have a different struggle that is very hard for me to work through.

And it's called a time lapse.

You see them in movies and TV shows all the time. They play some nice music, show a montage of clips displaying that time has passed in some way or another, and often have it move slowly. That's all nice and well when you're writing film, but with a book, this is an entirely different matter. You can't take the easy way out, and it's a long way around to do it a different way.

Say in a movie, you have a character who goes from zero to hero, but it takes a good while for them to get physically ready? Bam! Throw up some clips of different points in his training, with some inspirational music for extra motivation, and that's it. But in a book, you'd either have to write all these scenes out and 'play' them in a choppy, awkward way, or else find some other way of showing this training in only a small section. It's not an easy task.

So, how do you show a time lapse in a story without boring the reader and being too tell-y, yet still get all the necessary information across?

...I don't know. Can you tell me?

See, time lapses aren't just something that have a set formula either. I pulled one off okay in my last novel, but there wasn't much I needed to mention that happened in between, and what I did, I managed to slip in at the beginning and end of the time lapse. Having a big ol 'end part 1, start part 2' break definitely helped indicate that too, I think.

But for Dragons' Bane, I have a different scenario. I can't just miss out on all this character development that would happen during the time lapse, yet I can't show it all because it would be long and semi-repetitive/boring after a while. 

So, I'll admit, I'm a little stuck. It's not so much that I don't know what to write, but I don't know how to write it. And I can't find any books with good time lapse examples that I can draw inspiration from, either, other than those featured between books. :/

There is a way I can make it very simple, but I'm afraid it's a bit of a cop-out. I could also have the POV character simply say something like "(time) passed and this happened, etc, etc", but I'd really like to show it in a more interesting way than that, maybe using weather and/or other changes to indicate time is passing. But it's difficult, because time lapses are tricky, and I don't just want the readers to skip over it.

What do you think?

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