Time skips in storytelling

Skipping time is usually a really bad idea. But it does have its uses! Example time.

Probably the worst time skip I've ever seen was in the beginning of the book *The Grace of Kings* by Ken Liu. In the first chapter, he introduced to me a protagonist that I honestly really, really liked and wanted to see him do great things and overthrow the oppressive government. But guess what happened in the beginning of the second chapter? Surprise! It's seven years later and he's a completely different person now! I would never see that fun character in action. Even worse, nothing in that first chapter even ended up being important. Almost dropped the book right there.

An example of a good time skip was in Attack on Titan (the anime, not the manga, where it was handled just shockingly bad). After the first two episodes, where I again met a protagonist I really liked, the main characters had to go through five years of training, which they mostly skipped. There are two reasons this is okay: first, they do include two episodes about the training and the new friends they made there, which made me feel that I hadn't missed out on anything major, and second, no significant character development takes place that you don't get to see.

Are you curious how they did it in the manga? They showed the equivalent of the first two episodes, then immediately jumped to their *graduation* from training, showed their first battle with the new friends they made in training (whom you haven't yet had a chance to meet and get invested in), then *halfway through the battle*, they travel back in time to show you the training. What a mess.

Attack on Titan review


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