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How do you feel about alternating chapters?

3 years ago

I find I have grown a bit weary of novels that are presented in alternating chapters that jump the reader back and forth between time periods. For example, in two novels I read recently (The Gown and Letters to the Lost) there is a young woman in current times who, having recently experienced a bump-in-the-road of life, is floundering about her future direction. Then she happens upon a way to connect with a woman who had a much more interesting bump-in-the-road some generations back in time. Thus begins the alternating-between-time-periods chapter structure. And the back-in-time chapters are by far the most interesting because therein lies the real story to be told. And luckily, the young woman in current times ends up fulfilled, feeling she has accomplished something worthwhile. And oh yes, she finds a new boyfriend in the process.

I'd be interested in hearing whether others feel this writing technique is a bit overused.

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