Created By: ZenoseiyaJanuary 13, 2014 Last Edited By: ZenoseiyaMay 6, 2014

Not Timed to Scale

Supertrope for all instances of writers not getting the flow of time right.

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Sometimes it's difficult to determine the exact amount of time it takes between various actions when you're writing the story. This trope comes into play when certain events or actions, due to a writer's mistake or oversight, take glaringly less or more time than they realistically should.

Note: Since this trope is omnipresent to some degree, try to limit examples to particularly egregious instances.

The logical extreme of Plot Time. Compare Not Drawn To Scale and Writers Cannot Do Math. Contrast Real Time and Time Travel Tropes.

Subtropes:

Examples:

    Film 
  • In The Never Ending Story III, Chinese New Year is celebrated one day and Halloween the next.
  • In Grease Rizzo's pregnancy scare lasts most of the school year, not being resolved unitl the very end.
  • Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie where the First day of school, Homecoming, and Prom all take place during the course of one week.

    Literature 
  • Averted in The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, where the author meticulously kept a timeline of events specifically to avoid this sort of thing.
  • Many fairy tales, which otherwise take place in the real world, have mentions of seasons (particularly the rainy season) lasting for years even when this isn't a plot point, as though this sort of thing is perfectly normal.
  • If one counts out the time passage in Warrior Cats and compares it to the seasons being described, it does not line up with an actual year. For example, in the first series at least, a year lasts only about seven months.
  • Deconstructed in A Song Of Ice And Fire, which uses the standard Earth solar year, despite being set on another planet, but mentions that the seasons last for years at a time as a major plot point. This isn't due to some bizarre quirk of the planet's orbit but due to magic cast by the Fair Folk, and the effect fades with distance from the North Pole where they live.

    Live Action TV 
  • Used as a plot point in one episode of Eli Stone. Eli realizes he's having a dream when he notices that, in the last two weeks, he hasn't changed his suit or had a non-plot relevant conversaion with anyone.
  • Twenty Four is one show that is intended to avert this trope by having each episode and each season advance in real-time.
  • M*A*S*H. In, "Requiem for a Lightweight," Trapper is laid on the deck during the first round, and as Father Mulcahy starts the countdown, Hawkeye informs him somebody switched out their bottle of ether, then instructs him to stall his opponent while he runs off and gets another bottle from O.R. As this unfolds, Father Mulcahy's counting obviously starts to slow down, as evident it isn't in sync with Radar's finger gestures; by Mulcahy's time, Trapper gets back up by the count 8, though if still counting at his original pace, it would have been 11 seconds by the time Trapper finally got back to his feet, and therefore, would have lost.

    Western Animation 
  • In Ed Eddn Eddy, the amount of days that take place across the first four seasons is somewhat greater than the number of days in one summer.
  • In Ben10, the Rustbucket drastically changes location from episode to episode, leading one to assume it repeatedly travels in circles across the United States during that one summer. If one were to chart their path, the travel time would work out to much more than one summer.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has this in spades. The worst part is that, according to Word Of God, the episodes are not produced and aired in chronological order. Not that it hasn't stopped some people from trying.
  • Wunschpunsch:
    • Every episode, the wizards cast an evil spell that must last 7 hours in order to become permanent. Their pets, Mauricio and Jacob, must secretly find a way to undo the spell. In general, these 7 hours always seem to be dwindling away at a ridiculously fast pace, just so that each episode can keep the Just In Time trope.
    • In the first episode, we have a situation where a sunny day changes into a starry night over the course of a single hour. And no, it has nothing to do with that day's Spell of the Week.
    • In the episode where all adults are turned into 5 year olds, the wizards' boss punishes them for laziness by changing their heads into chickens and then asks them to come up with an idea for a spell under 7 seconds, or else their heads will stay like that forever. The wizards then engage into an argument that obviously takes way more than 7 seconds, and yet when the boss interrupts them, apparently only 3 seconds have passed.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • January 13, 2014
    MrRuano
  • January 13, 2014
    DAN004
    Kinda don't think this is an opposite to Time Dilation.
  • January 14, 2014
    KTera
    Also see Always Close for timers that operate according to the Rule Of Drama.
  • January 14, 2014
    DAN004
    So I guess this is a Missing Supertrope?

    Another related trope would be Plot Relevant Age Up, Not Allowed To Grow Up
  • January 15, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    ^ Plot Relevant Age Up would NOT be an example, since the age-up there is explained through science or magic or whatever. This trope is where time is screwed up due to the format of the story or Executive Meddling, not due to actual events in the story.
  • January 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Would Negative Continuity count?
  • January 18, 2014
    Dawnwing
    Literature:

    • If one counts out the time passage in Warrior Cats and compares it to the seasons being described, it does not line up with an actual year. For example, in the first series at least, a year lasts only about seven months.

    (Yes, I'm that obsessed fan that made note of literally every single mention of time and weather for about ten of the books.)
  • January 20, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • In Grease Rizzo's Pregnancy Scare lasts most of the school year, not being resolved unitl the very end. (Haven't seen the play so IDK whether or not the same holds true there.)
    • Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie where the First day of school, Homecoming, and Prom all take place during the course of one week.
    • Used as a plot point in one episode of Eli Stone. Eli realizes he's having a dream when he notices that, in the last two weeks, he hasn't changed his suit or had a non-plot relevant conversaion with anyone.
  • February 23, 2014
    DAN004
  • March 6, 2014
    JesseMB27
    IMO, works of fiction that play this trope completely straight shouldn't be listed because doing so would likely create an endless list of works. Rather works that avoid doing this trope straight, along the lines of Nobody Poops, should be listed.

    Live Action TV
    • Series/{{24}} is one show that is intended to avert this trope by having each episode and each season advance in real-time.
  • March 6, 2014
    ElectricNova
    Needs better name, the current one reminds me of well.... Final Fantasy VIII to be honest.
  • April 14, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    ^^ I don't think an endless list of works would be likely to form. The vast majority of fiction doesn't keep time meticulously enough for obsessive readers to tell if this trope actually applies. Hence the subtropes, which are much more obvious and thus occur much more often. Most of the supertrope examples will probably be for very egregious examples.
  • April 14, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
  • April 14, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    ^^ Probably. This was posted first.

    In fact, how many times has some accidentally duplicated an existing YKTTW? We really need a better system to keep that from happening.
  • April 14, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    Live Action TV:
    • M*A*S*H. In, "Requiem for a Lightweight," Trapper is laid on the deck during the first round, and as Father Mulcahy starts the countdown, Hawkeye informs him somebody switched out their bottle of ether, then instructs him to stall his opponent while he runs off and gets another bottle from O.R. As this unfolds, Father Mulcahy's counting obviously starts to slow down, as evident it isn't in sync with Radar's finger gestures; by Mulcahy's time, Trapper gets back up by the count 8, though if still counting at his original pace, it would have been 11 seconds by the time Trapper finally got back to his feet, and therefore, would have lost.

    Western Animation:
    • Wunschpunsch:
      • Every episode, the wizards cast an evil spell that must last 7 hours in order to become permanent. Their pets, Mauricio and Jacob, must secretly find a way to undo the spell. In general, these 7 hours always seem to be dwindling away at a ridiculously fast pace, just so that each episode can keep the Just In Time trope.
      • In the first episode, we have a situation where a sunny day changes into a starry night over the course of a single hour. And no, it has nothing to do with that day's Spell of the Week.
      • In the episode where all adults are turned into 5 year olds, the wizards' boss punishes them for laziness by changing their heads into chickens and then asks them to come up with an idea for a spell under 7 seconds, or else their heads will stay like that forever. The wizards then engage into an argument that obviously takes way more than 7 seconds, and yet when the boss interrupts them, apparently only 3 seconds have passed.
  • April 14, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 15, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    What's the relationship between this trope and Magic Countdown? I would think it's an exaggeration of that trope. A couple examples seem like they'd be more appropriate under Magic Countdown since they only involve a couple minutes at most.
  • April 15, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    I found the Plot Time page. Man, this wiki is sprawling.
  • April 15, 2014
    Unknown Troper
    never mind
  • April 15, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ so we don't need this?
  • May 6, 2014
    Zenoseiya
    I don't know if we need this or not. Plot Time is basically for all instances where events occur when convenient for the plot, but we don't actually have a trope for when this is taken to such a degree it violates real world calendars, basic logic, or worse, Suspension Of Disbelief.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable