Writing Tips Round Up: Timeslips4 min read
A weekly round up of writing advice and inspiration
“A time-slip novel contains two or more stories, each set in a different time period, told in parallel with each other. Writing time-slip brings its own joys (exploring new characters and situations) and challenges (double the research).”
A timeslip novelist provides her top tips on maintaining historical accuracy, language, and mapping out your characters’ connections between dual timelines.
“Try not to force-feed the facts to your reader – they will not appreciate it! It can be so tempting, after months of researching your subject, to thrill (or bore!) your readers with every minute detail you picked up along the way. You have to know when enough is enough.”
A writer talks about her experience in writing a timeslip novel, discusses her favourite examples of the genres, and the ‘do’s and don’ts’ she learned from the process.
“It’s also not easy to do well because you’re asking the reader to do the literary equivalent of patting their head and rubbing their tummy, understanding each strand as a stand alone story, even though it’s chopped into chunks, but also making the thematic and other links across between them.”
This blog post by Deborah Swift gathers together advice by some time-slip author favourites such as Kate Mosse, addressing the topics of historical accuracy, keeping your story strands straight, and keeping your character voices distinct yet harmonious.
“Introducing a contemporary thread meant I could create a feisty modern heroine, which gave me the chance to say what I wanted to say from a twentieth century perspective. My historical characters couldn’t be ‘feminist’ in the modern sense – like any writer of historical fiction, I’m ever-wary of anachronism. So the time-slip approach allowed me to explore the past and keep one foot in the present.”
This Historia interview with Barbara Erskine, a “pioneer of the time-slip fiction”, delves into how this genre can allow a writer more breathing room for creating different types of characters, and provides insight into how much research the experts do when capturing historical fiction.
“Each story should enhance each other, not detract from each other. It doesn’t have to be explicit from the start how they’re related; but by the end of the story, it definitely needs to be clear how they work together to create one beautiful, strong story.”
Another author in the process of writing a timeslip novel discusses deriving inspiration from the masters and the key lessons she took with her from the experience.
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