Time Skips - How to effectively write them...?

I’m looking for advice on writing time skips more organically, for Surgit: Finding Humanity.
You can find the concept here: Interest Check Thread - Hosted Games / Works In Progress - Choice of Games Forum

But in short, it’s about an immortal who takes in a mortal child, and ends up raising them. They can see the child as a tool, or gain a sense of humanity through the act of rearing, but an inevitable fact is that timeskips will be necessary for the story to take place in full.

For that purpose, I am wondering how you might organically write them? Perhaps in describing how the following months go? Or giving the player a choice in how they will act for the next while before an important event sticks out that pulls them into the next scene? The most important thing for me is that I don’t want the player to feel they are missing out on what happens in between the events.

Ending Note: Any recommendations on ROs for this? Hehehehe, I’m an evil schemer, and if I can get an idea for what to do on that front as well it would be quite useful.


I’ve read a few stories where there was a Time Skip, and, based on what I read, I would recommend them happening when a new chapter comes up.

If, in the first chapter, the Immortal gets the baby, then have the Time Skip happen in the chapter where the age goes up.

So, if the first few chapters are newborn/infant, then, at the beginning of, say, Chapter Four, I would start with:

**Chapter Four**
*Five Years Later*

[Insert Immortal Name] does this or that and watches the older baby do this or that. 

As for romance? You could really go any direction on that end, truth be told. Another Immortal. A fallen god. A mortal. Some dark entity living in the woods ends up adoring the child instead of trying to kill/sacrifice/eat said child (like, the Immortal goes to save their child only to find the child in question has that woodland nightmare wrapped around its finger).

Figuring out romance is interesting. Doing much the same on my current project, and it’s certainly leaving me scratching my head.

You could maybe have moments at the end of each chapter where the MC goes into a haze as years pass but let the player set a goal for that period.

You slump in the chair, yet another day passed. After all this time you were still surprised how time flies. You’ve watched your child grow in a blink of an eye. Sometimes it feels like a haze washes over you. Thankfully though even on automatic your body knows what you want.
#I need to keep the kid safe.
#I need to work hard at my job.
#I need to find someone to help look after the kid.


You can always make use of summary, too. Sometimes writers (I have been guilty of this) take the advice to make vivid scenes too far (the old “show don’t tell”), but a bit of well-placed summarizing is useful, particularly for stuff like time skips.

Sometimes you do just want to skip ahead and show a scene in a new time, but a lot of times it’ll help the reader understand what’s going on and reduce disorientation if you give some overview of what’s been happening over that time rather than plunging in. Also provides an opportunity for some further interactivity, as you can ask more than one question during the summary bits.


Thank you for this, I think this is probably what I will end up doing! Letting the player select what their focus will be in interims and summarizing the results of their labour before shifting focus to the next major event. I really appreciate it! :blush:


“Show don’t tell” should usually be combined with “Get in late, leave early”; that is to say cutting the unnecessary details. Get into the meat of the scene, and end it before it starts dragging on.

You’re welcome. Glad it helped :slight_smile:

Immortals who also have access to shape-changing spells or technology could keep their romance fresh by disappearing, changing their appearance to another person, then showing up in their partner’s life as if they were a new person & trying to have a “new” relationship. One interesting scenario is a partner noticing a wandering eye & trying to draw the attention back to themselves by mixing their features with someone that was unintentionally leered at. For extra head games have one of the partners show up as different people rather than a different person & have your M.C. find out their spouse kept things fresh in the bedroom by making the M.C. think they’ve been cheating on their partner. This can present strange situations where they’re either actually with their spouse… or they thought they were & they’re not.

Since you’re not just defaulting to the R.O. being a fellow immortal you’re kind of stuck with “non-human” human-like beings. Consider someone who, although also “an immortal,” is a different category of immortal.

  • Your immortal outlived a mortal love & has brought them back to life via necromancy.
  • How about a ghost trapped in a human-looking statue?
  • Pygmalion, surgery, & robotics all offer alternative twists on similar ideas.
  • How about a human who is just incredibly long-lived; there are persistent stories out of rural China claiming specific humans have lived over 130 years.
  • Everyone loves vampires; With their legendary mind-control & predatory nature this offers an unique depth of opportunity to examine what your character’s emotions really come from.
  • How about a nymph or other woodland creature? Like a recent episode of Rick & Morty (“A Rickconvenient Mort”) this could be an opportunity to show someone with radically different morals & ethics from a human being.
  • Can’t recall anyone ever doing a romance with a cyclops. In the original stories they weren’t all stupid (The Odyssey just involves tricking a cyclops). They have a quirky set of supernatural qualities. In some mythologies they start as humans but they perform a ritual that involves sacrificing an eye; they know the manner in which they’re fated to die but are immortal to all other forms of death.
  • “Horse girls” might like a love story with a centaur. :slightly_smiling_face:
  • Consider the benefits of an otherwise perfectly normal human who has earned a blessing from some deity, slowing their aging process but not making them truly persistent.
  • How about an elemental? Lovers that can instantly travel through the air or pop up out of the ground just anywhere present some interesting situations.

Would you remind me reaching out to you privately, you have a lot of interesting ideas! I would love a chance to talk with you but I would prefer to prompt you first to make sure it’s fine with you :stuck_out_tongue:

My concern with introducing influences from Deities is that traditionally, iirc, Taoists would not believe that the deities would regularly intervene in the lives of mortal kind. Buddhism doesn’t have deities, and Confucianism is more a set of principles than a ‘religion’ despite it constantly be described as such. Confucianism is a way of life, more than anything. Though this is a fantasy setting, so I suppose I don’t have to strictly behold to any rules… Perhaps there was a time where they regularly interacted, before a veil was put in place that would prevent it.

I think the timescale for the ROs is something I am going to struggle with though. Considering the framing around the child being raised, it would be weird if the RO would expand beyond that. At most the scale of the story is about 50 years, and considering how old the MC might be…? Perhaps there could be a written explanation for it, I need to think on it though. Part of me is worried there isn’t enough of a centralized conflict, though not every story truly needs one so long as internalized conflict is present (as is the case here, a need to reconnect).

Feel free to privately message.

Another possibility could be a mortal human RO who reincarnates and has some ability to remember their past lives (or at least learns to). You could meet them in one life, but then after they die, you could eventually meet again once they’re someone else.

Hah! Funny you mention this, lets just say that it is something that I have considered :stuck_out_tongue:

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Just before the time skip, you could give a player a choice of what training or other long-time activity would they pursue as a filler and make future chapters react a bit to that. Admittedly, it works best with games that give your MC attributes and stats so it might not fit into your vision of the game.

My 2 cents. Do you remember the way the time seemed to flow more… er… quickly as your MC gets old in Choice of Robot? ahem… I can testify the time seems to skip more and more the older you get. I blame that on my poor memory that tends to wrap up long periods of time, meshing and blending years together into a long sting of feelings of nostalgy, fondness and melancholy.

Anyways, I really like the notion that the timeskips on literature often can respond and change accordingly to the aging of the mind of the narrator. (When not a third part Lyric Ego P.O.V.). An young one will register the passing of time (like a summer) as a great event in their life, while an old one will register it as a aspect of a set of many summers unless marked by a special event of notice (a death, a great loss. Some unique event on that specific summer, etc) to make it a special season.

As Luiz Santos said:

Time flows these days, my love
Drips over our fingers.
Senseless even.

And there is no time back, beloved.
Let’s live ever thing there’s to live
Let us be.

There are a lot of books that transition with a line of asteriks

I was actually imagining something of the reverse happening for the MC here, because they had fallen into a state of dormancy almost, waiting for something to truly pull them out from the malaise that had settled over their mind. Striken with strong emotions, they are suddenly stuck unable to pull away from them like they had done so many times before, and with more responsibilities than ever. They have to try to actually work through everything, and in turn being in the moment allows them to see more than they have for as long as they can remember.

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Okay that’s Satoryu level cognitive ascendancy we are talking about. With a deep experiencing or Kenshō?

It’s like… The Zone? Like what athletes talk about when they talk about “going into the zone”. IDK…

You know, that insightful moment of clarity born of super concentration and metodical repetition of a set of actions to cure lethargy?

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I’d use *page_break Some time passes. for CS games; a page break offers a pretty reasonable transitional space for a time skip.

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