Trends come and go in all areas of life, and fiction is no exception. However, one popular trend in the past decade or so is one that I think (and hope) is here to stay. Whether you call it dual timeline, time slip, or split-time (my favorite), novels with multiple timelines that while originally distinct, merge into one beautiful picture are definitely some of the most unique ones out there.
I recently got to speak with Morgan Tarpley Smith about the new book she’s co-authored with award-winning author slip time author, Melanie Dobson. That book, A Split in Time: how to write dual timeline, split time, and time-slip fiction is so amazing. I’ve been reading it on Kindle Unlimited while I wait for my paperback to get here, and… wow. Author or reader, if you love split-time fiction, you want to check out this book.
Note: links are probably affiliate links. They don’t cost you anything extra, but they do give me a small commission.
Why Split-Time Novels are the BEST
Are there differences between the terms dual timeline, time-slip, split-time fiction? Morgan Tarpley Smith says yes and no… it’s all up to the reader and author these days. Will it ever change? Who knows, but she really gets you thinking. She didn’t change my mind on my preference for one term (or mostly my bias against one), but she did make me really think about it.
Morgan and I talked about what makes time-split fiction so good, and she really pointed out how well-written books have so many tiny nuances that come together in really beautiful ways. While I was editing the episode, I thought of another one we didn’t discuss. Think about it. In a sense, you’re getting two, three, and sometimes even more stories in one, fabulous book.
While I tried to get her to tell us what makes a time-split novel not so good, that didn’t work so well. What I got out of it, however, is that when you know what makes great time-split fiction, the not-so-great ones will jump out at you and you’ll know why you didn’t enjoy them as much. Their book will help with that. As we said several times in the episode, this book is not just for authors. Readers will get a lot out of it.
However, authors. If you listen close, you’ll hear Morgan describe this as “a time-split workshop in a book.” (or something close to that). YES! That’s exactly what it is. Check it out on Amazon.
Okay, we talked about a LOT of authors and books in this episode, so I’m just going to list them.
Courtney Walsh: If for Any Reason (not your classic split-time novel, but it does have dual timelines and includes what is essentially an unreliable narrator, too!) My review is HERE.
- Catching the Wind (Available on Kindle Unlimited, even!)
- Memories of Glass (I listened to Memories of Glass on audio, and highly recommend it. If you don’t have an Audible subscription, you can have a FREE 30-day subscription and get TWO audiobooks during that time. 🙂 You can do that HERE. This one is also on Kindle Unlimited!!
Kristy Cambron (her castle series is WONDERFUL. I have reviews of them. One is HERE.
- The Curse of Misty Wayfair (and my inability to get that title right)
- The Echoes Among the Stones (my mom loved it!)
- The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus (coming soon!)
- The Writing Desk
- The Wedding Dress
- The Memory House (my review of that is HERE)
Amanda Cox— The Edge of Belonging Isn’t that cover beautiful???
- The Story Keeper
- Before We Were Yours (two thumbs up from my mom!)
- The Book of Lost Friends
- The Shape of Mercy (FABULOUS BOOK—my review HERE),
- The Last Year of the War
- A Fall of Marigolds
Lindsay Harrel— The Secrets of Paper and Ink (more, Lindsay, MORE!) My review is HERE. You can also listen to us talk about it in Episode 10.
Cathy Gohlke— Secrets She Kept (and her other books are great, too—even if not split-time fiction)
Michelle Phoenix— The Space between Words (That just went on my TBR list!)
Split-Time Fiction… awesome stuff, right?
Again, the book is A Split in Time: how to write dual timeline, split time, and time-slip fiction by Melanie Dobson and Morgan Tarpley Smith.
Here’s the synopsis:
What are the key elements to writing a time-slip novel? Where do you start in your plot? How do you weave together multiple storylines?
In A Split in Time, time-slip authors Melanie Dobson and Morgan Tarpley Smith help fellow writers navigate and then master the challenges of writing a novel with two or more storylines. Within these pages you’ll find:
- Thirteen key components for split time fiction
- Practical tips on building the time-slip structure
- Interviews with bestselling novelists like Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner
- Analyses of multi-storyline techniques
- Resources to build compelling split time characters, craft your ideas, and weave together multiple timelines
Whether you are a seasoned writer ready for a new journey or a first-time novelist wanting to learn the split timeline format, this workshop-in-a-book provides the necessary skills to weave two or more compelling stories into one time-slip novel!
“A Split in Time is the only craft book I know devoted completely to writers who want to write in the time-slip genre. . .It’s an absolute must for anyone writing split time novels.” – Heidi Chiavaroli, award-winning author of The Tea Chest
“This book is a gold mine of information for those looking to write split time fiction. Highly recommend!” – Lindsay Harrel, best-selling author of The Secrets of Paper and Ink
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