In this post series, we are deconstructing how bestselling authors use five special techniques to massively leverage story time.
Here they are again, as a reminder:
- Time Warp
- Time Stop
- Time Wrap
- Time Jump
- Time Check
If you missed the first two posts, read them here:
Today, let’s look at the third time tactic, Time Wrap.
Time Wrap is when a story begins and ends in a different time period than the main story.
Also known as…
- Story within a story
Think, the beginning and end of The Never Ending Story.
If you don’t get that reference, first, I question your humanity, and second, let me explain Time Wrap in another way.
Here is a visual that captures the concept pretty well:
[Story Introduction]- Time Period 1
Main Story – Time Period 2
[Story Conclusion] – Time Period 1
One story. Two time periods.
Basically, you start and end a story in one time period, and relate the rest of the story in a different time period.
These famous books use the Time Wrap technique:
- Wuthering Heights
- Canterbury Tales
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By the way, you can apply Time Wrap to whole stories, sections of stories or even chapters or scenes.
4 Reasons To Use Time Wrap
- Story set up in a different time period is necessary to your narrative
- When using an unreliable narrator
- To replace a strong narrative hook (usually when one is missing)
- To influence the reader’s attitude toward the story
Time Wrap is a specialized technique that takes precise skill to pull off. For that reason, I usually recommend young or less skilled writers to avoid it.
At the same time, I’m all for experimentation in writing. Test out this technique. If it works for you, great! Keep it. If not, save it for another story.