How do I jump between three different parts of my characters life without it being messy?

by Nora
(Norway)

Question: I'm writing about a female cop that experienced some trauma a couple of years before. Once back in the 90's by her father, and next due to an incident with her ex partner aout two years before the book picks up. The 90's and the time with her partner will be written as flash backs. Is there any way I can go between these three stories where the ''now'' time is the main line, the one about her partner second, and her childhood without it being messy?


Answer: First, I would suggest you only switch time periods at chapter breaks. This will be less confusing for the reader.

Second, when you change time periods, it helps to give the reader some clues in the first paragraph or so to orient them in the new time period.

Third, some reference in the present time period to these past events might help the reader understand the chronological order of things, if it seems unclear.

If you are writing in first person, you might also consider writing the present time events in present tense and the past time events in past tense.

Above all, don't jump around too frequently.

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