Elements of a Dual Timeline Novel: Timeframes and Settings

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! You’re with Mae today. Thank you for joining me for part three of my series on dual timeline novels. Part One provided an introduction, while Part Two offered a look at character development. Today, we’re going to explore timeframes.

Signpost showing Past, Present, and Future directional arrows
Image from Deposit Photos

When developing your characters, you probably started thinking about timeframes. Usually, when people think of dual timeline novels, they often envision a large gap between eras. One timeframe in present day with the other set somewhere in the past. Often this involves another century, but there’s no rule that says you have to go back x-number of decades or centuries.

I’ve written novels with my “past” timeframe set in the late 1700s, 1840s, and 1880s. I’m also sitting on a completed manuscript wherein the earlier action takes place in the 1970s. Once you’ve chosen your era, it’s time to do a research dive. Even the…

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