Writing Dual or Split Time Stories


By Rachel Hauck

In honor of my new book, The Memory Residence, I believed I’d weblog about the course of action or method of writing a dual time, or split time, stories.

What is dual or split time?

I’ve heard persons use the term “slip time” but that is not an precise image. Slip implies slipping via time. Time travel.

In split time, the author is dividing the story among two plot lines – a single set in the previous, a single set in the present.

Although every single timeline follows its personal journey, the stories have to merge in the finish. Generally the the protagonist of the previous did or possessed a thing that impacts the present day protagonist.

Or the present day protagonist fixes a thing the historical hero or heroine could not, or did not, obtain. Possibly she rights a incorrect or completes a dream of the past’s heroine.

A single “must haves” of split time story improvement is the plot lines have to mirror every single other then come with each other, intertwining, in the finish. One have to drastically have an effect on the other.

In The Writing Desk, Tenley fulfilled a dream of Birdie’s, the historical, Gilded Age heroine.

In The Memory Residence, the modern heroine, Beck, is changed by the actions of a lady she knew as a youngster but didn’t recall as an adult.

Everleigh, the heroine in the previous, hadn’t see Beck in eighteen years but she meticulously planned a thing extraordinary for her.

Their stories mirrored a single one more in discomfort and loss. Their “common link” was a lot more emotional the physical.

Why dual time frame stories?

Lisa Wingate says, “There’s a thing about the juxtaposition of a modern day life and a life (true or fictional) of extended ago, that lends reality to each tales.”

For me, I appreciate the possibility to appear at the previous. To envision how the actions of our ancestors or society impacts me right now. What choices did they make that led me to this point in my life?

Elements of a dual time story.

Try to remember you have to inform two stories. Also, it assists if you have an object, like a desk, dress, residence, historical occasion, to develop the story about.

In dual time, historical particulars are required but the “past” has a lot more of a modern really feel. The historical time line is a lot more of a setting.

Every story line will have 40k – 50k words. Total 100k words. So you are going to be writing a quite massive book. You will have to have about 10K words to tie up the two stories in the finish.

Ask Oneself.

“What ties the stories with each other? And how?”
“If I eradicate a issue or a particular person, or an notion, does the book fall apart?”
“What is my central hook or theme?”

What split time is not.

Split time is not a straight up historical or straight up modern. You have to carve out equal space for every single tale. You have to also have an genuine voice for every single timeline.

The spark of inspiration.

For The Wedding Dress, the notion hit me whilst going to a buddy. As she talked about obtaining her daughter’s wedding gown, I believed, “What if there’s a single wedding dress 4 girls wore more than 100 years?”

Lisa Wingate says, “The Prayer Box was the outcome of a moment of irresistible inspiration, and the tale of these eighty-a single mysterious prayer boxes came to me in not a single, but two stories, or a lot more accurately a story inside a story. I glanced across the space, saw the tiny prayer box that had been offered to me as a present, and believed, “What if that box contained numerous prayers accumulated more than time? What if there have been dozens of boxes? What if the letters chronicled the life of a lady who could no longer inform her story? What impact could the prayers of a faithful servant have on a modern day lady who has lost faith?”

Susan Meissner came up with The Shape of Mercy just after reading a diary.

For any story notion you create, ask, “Is there an historical element I can inform? Is there a modern?” If so, probably you have a split time story brewing.

So how do you place a split time story with each other?

There are no true guidelines but I commonly start out with the modern protagonist. But in The Really like Letter, I began with the historical hero.

Ask your self which storyline will grip the reader the most effective.

When you leave a single storyline for one more, make confident you have concluded the snippet of the split story you have just written.

Leave the reader with a hook, but also happy with that portion of the story. Frequently readers can really feel jerked about with split time so you want to leave them emotionally happy with the piece they just study.

If you are utilizing an object, like a desk or a dress, introduce it into the story as quickly as you can. You do not have to clarify or go into wonderful detail, just bring it in.

About the finish of the second act, the modern protagonist meets with a hyperlink to the previous by way of a particular person or the object.

In The Memory Residence, I use an old cell telephone to unlock secrets in the modern protagonist’s heart. Which permitted her to recall the historical heroine.

Alternate structure.

In A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, the split story is told from a single protagonist in unique 1930s timelines.

The hook among the stories is the hero, Nick.


Visualize writing two 40k stories. But you have to retain every single storyline in thoughts as you create. “How does the previous shadow the present? What does the modern protagonist uncover?”

Use the object, particular person, occasion, or prevailing truth, to aid move the scenes and characters forward.

If you create two to 4 scenes of the historical characters, then move to the modern timeline and repeat.

Split time is not flashbacks? 

I applied flashbacks as a car to comprehend the primary protagonist in The Songbird Novels with Sara Evans.

The stories of Jade as a youngster helped the reader see her wounds and hurts, her motivations. There was also a teen appreciate story that impacted the present day plot.

But flashbacks do not need a story arc or 3 act structure like in split time. It is just a layer to broaden the characters.

Hope this assists! Now go create a thing brilliant!

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Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Instances, USA Nowadays and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Instances Book Evaluations. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, When Upon A Prince, 1st in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark film. Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Profession Achievement Award for her physique of original perform by Romantic Instances Book Evaluations. A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a previous Mentor of The Year.  At household, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and operates out at the fitness center semi-enthusiastically. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.







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