Author Topic: Time Frames  (Read 1079 times)

AllWrong

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Time Frames
« on: August 06, 2009, 08:08:26 AM »
Perhaps it's me.  Perhaps it's the way I read.  However, one big problem I have with books is lack of temporal references.  I get lost in the timeline of the books.  I'm going to use BS as an example, here.  Don't get me wrong, I love his books, I just get frustrated at this (and BS is FAR from the only author I have this problem with).

For instance:
Elantris - Is it just me, or does this book FEEL like it takes place over the course of a year or more?  It's mentioned a few times that it's in a 90 day time period (the timeframe given to Hrathen by Wyrn).  However, the flow of the book makes it feel like it takes much longer than this.

Mistborn: The Final Empire - This book feels like it takes place over just a couple of months (3, maybe 4), but it says it takes place over the course of an entire year.

Does anyone else have this problem, or is it truly just me?  If you do, please cite examples.

Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 05:00:45 PM »
Yeah i thought it was like 6 months for elantris...and there is a 3 or 4 month jump in Mistborn FE but it still feels like 8 or 9 months....if it bothers you too much don't read WoT because 3 days will feel like a year (Winter's Heart is the best example) and a year will feel like a couple of weeks
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firstRainbowRose

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2009, 05:46:06 PM »
I'd hate to break it to you guys, but Elantris actually happens over a month (maybe two).  Remember, at the end when Hrathen follows Dalif he's upset because the attack comes early.
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little wilson

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 08:13:54 PM »
I don't normally have a problem with it. That's not saying I don't care about the timeframe of books, that's just saying that most of the time if it matters, the author will put in some way to gauge how much time has passed, even if it's just a sentence or two. As far as I know (and I just re-read Elantris a couple nights ago), BS has done that in both Elantris and Mistborn.

In Elantris, the best gauge that I remember was about in the middle-end of the book. Sarene (while she's an 'Elantrian') asks Spirit how long he's been in Elantris. He lies and says a year. She thinks he's telling the truth, because it takes a while to plan a takeover like he did, and it's only been going on for a couple months (at most). But we know he started taking over almost right when he got in there....And from the time when Sarene leaves Elantris to the fight at Teod, it's only about a month. Maybe.

And in Mistborn, you learn the timeframe similarly--through the details. I'm pretty sure Vin says somewhere that it takes 5-6 months from when she got in the crew to the first Venture Ball. After that, she gets injured, and she's out for a good 2 months at least. And then the frequency of the balls--aren't they every two weeks? Or is it one week?--plus all the other little references to time--how long it takes to travel between Luthadel and the caverns, how long after the last ball that things start to pick up, how long Kell is gone at the mines, how long after Kell's death that they find OreSeur, and everything else--and you start getting a pretty good sense of the timeframe--about a year.
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Andrew the Great

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 09:56:26 PM »
Yeah, I never really bother paying attention to the timeline. I mostly just try to figure out what happens in what order. If I can figure that out, it doesn't really matter to me how long it took.
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Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 03:29:51 AM »
I thought Raoden was there for 2 months
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little wilson

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 05:08:54 AM »
I thought Raoden was there for 2 months

He was. But when Sarene asked him, he said a year. That was a lie. He didn't want her to know when he actually was thrown into the city.
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Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 09:23:57 PM »
I knew he lied to Sarene i was making sure it wasn't one month though
"Words are double edged blades. Only the great and the foolish play with knives." - Kaz the Buddah

"Take off your sandals, for you are posting on holy ground." -  Yahweh Kaz

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AllWrong

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 07:46:05 AM »
Quote
if it bothers you too much don't read WoT because 3 days will feel like a year (Winter's Heart is the best example)

Too late.  I've been reading the series since Eye of the World was the current book.

And no, the timeframes don't bother me, it just frustrates me sometimes.  I was more curious to see if this was a problem only I have or if other people get lost in the timelines, as well.

Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 05:24:49 PM »
I think it has to do with the fact that the plot building can be a slow drawn out process and when the action picks up it just seems so close together.
"Words are double edged blades. Only the great and the foolish play with knives." - Kaz the Buddah

"Take off your sandals, for you are posting on holy ground." -  Yahweh Kaz

"Chaos, go to your room!" - Momma Kaz

Shaggy

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Re: Time Frames
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2009, 02:27:34 AM »
I actually thought BS did a pretty decent job of giving steady reminders as to the time frame (mostly by Hrathen bemoaning his lack of time).

I know what you mean, though. Chaim Potok (in The Chosen) does a great job of covering an enormous amount of time in a relatively short novel, while keeping the story at a steady flow and making it seem 'natural.'
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