1. black-radish
    Offline

    black-radish Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands

    Advise on what to write first: Chronological order

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by black-radish, Nov 6, 2011.

    Hey everyone!

    I'm writing a story with a mixed chronolical order. The main character remains the same during the book, however the readers are led to believe that the story is about two different men. Ofcourse, somewhere down the road the reader realises how the characters fit together.

    But my question is: Should I write it in the chronological order and mix it up after writing, or should I write it in the order the readers will read the book?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Keven
    Offline

    Keven Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    USA
    black-radish,

    I say its based on the story. If you write it in Chronological order will you still have a logical, believable, and easy to follow by the reader if you then jumble it up?

    If I where you I would simply have it so each chapter follows the two characters (who are the same).

    Example

    John

    "This is his chapter"

    Perry

    "This is his chapter"

    They are both the same character, but 'Perry' is Johns nickname or middle name. You then do something like (for example) have them interact with the same characters; like a wife. Because John's wife hangs around with Perry so much the reader may think Johns wife is cheating on him. However, later we learn Perry and John are the same person.

    Any way just a thought, but overal I say it depends on your story and:

    1) Logical
    2) Believable
    3) Reader can follow it

    v/Respectfully,
    Keven
     
    2 people like this.
  3. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I like that!! :D
     
  4. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I am assuming that you mean by "mixed chronological order" you mean that you will be using flashbacks and the like. I would suggest writing a rather thorough outline in chronological order so you can nail down in how events would have actually happened. Then use that as a reference when you write the story in the manner that you want it to unfold. The reason for this is that no matter how you tell your story, you need to have a firm grasp on the order in which things occurred. But when you use flashbacks and other literary devices that manipulate time, you need to do so in a manner that unfolds the story to your readers in the way you intend. Usually, when I manipulate time, it's to gain a greater dramatic impact than I'd get by a simple chronological telling. I find that to do that, I have to write it that way.

    Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. art
    Offline

    art Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    113
    Intriguing question.

    I've not attempted anything of the sort but think Ed has the right idea.
    A novel is not simply the playing out of a story but something rather more: we might think of foreshadowing (I think folk hereabouts are keen to call it); the deployment of leitmotifs; the repetitive use and manipulation of certain words or sentence structures and so on; the building of a particular mood etc. (Even if you're are not doing all these things consciously, you are probably doing some of them unconciously)

    Next to impossible to do all that (effectively), I would have thought, if you write it then jumble it around afterwards.
     
  6. Keven
    Offline

    Keven Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    USA
    Possible, but improbable.
     
  7. black-radish
    Offline

    black-radish Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the advice! I will write it in the order the reader is meant to read it, I think it will greatly improve the cohesion of the storylines, motives etc than if I would write it from A to Z and mix it up.

    Happy writing! :)

    Edit: Any idea's on how to indicate that one chapter is about John and the other about Perry? I prefer writing in first person, which makes this a lot harder. I could use format to indicate about who the chapter is, but I think it should be clear from the context.. However, writing in first person makes this quite difficult. It's not like I can begin every chapter with: "Perry? Are you listening?" etc.
    Any thoughts on this? Should I write in third person instead?

    ( I think it should be clear from the entire atmosphere every other chapter oozes out that it's i.e. Perry and not John that's the MC.. However, since they are the same character, I can't make it a day-night difference in how they perceive the world around them. )
     
  8. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    Honestly, you could just begin every chapter with "Perry" or "John" in bold and maybe a font size higher... and the audience will get it. I've seen it done before like this. Or you could title your chapters Perry: "w/e the name of the chapter is" or John: "w/e the name of the chapter is"

    No reason you can't do something like this. And worst case scenario when someone reads the story they are going to tell you "this is stupid, do it like this instead" and it might take a little bit of time to change. I would recommend doing it in first person if it turns out they end up being the same person at the end... I think that would be kind of cool to jump between two first person perspectives and then you find out they are the same guy.
     
  9. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    In The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan he has two people telling the story both in first person.It's a little different set up than the one that you're thinking of but would work well for you too. The set up works because at the top of each set of pages it has the name of who's talking (as well as having the name at the begining of the chapter). Most of the time the way the characters talked was different enough that I knew who was talking but once in a while when I sat the book down I had to look to see who was talking so it was nice to have the name on each set of pages.
     
  10. D-Doc
    Offline

    D-Doc Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Vista, CA
    Here is a good article by H.P. Lovecraft that is relevant- http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/essays/nwwf.asp

    He says write down the story in chronological order first, then write a second draft in the order you want to narrate.
     

Share This Page