1. krystalpendragon
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    krystalpendragon Member

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    Can the same day be told in different chapters?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by krystalpendragon, May 10, 2010.

    One novel I've been writing has 3 main characters. Something happens globally that I want 2 characters to experience. Character 1 experiences it in chapter 1 and character 2 in chapter 2 or 3. But then it will be like going back in time for the second one. So is it okay to do this if I give reference to the time frame? Or is that too confusing to the reader?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Have you ever read The Lord of the Rings? Books 4 and 5 (the Two Towers) take place concurrently. Book 4 follows Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin in Rohan and Gondor, then Bool 5 goes back and covers Frodo, Sam, and Gollum in Ithilien and Mordor during the same time period. And within Book 4, there are chapters that cover the run of the orcs with Merry and Pippin from both the halflings' point of view, and from that of the Ranger, the elf, and the dwarf.

    So absolutely, it can be done. Your job as a writer is to manage the transitions well between the time slices, and to provide synchronizing events to help the reader keep track of where the time slices align.
     
  3. krystalpendragon
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    krystalpendragon Member

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    Thanks for the reply. :) I saw the movies some time ago, but never read the books.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Another example is Ulyesses by James Joyce - it's a vast 800 page novel that discribes the events of one day in Ireland.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as you can manage the transitions, it's fine.
     
  6. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Also, it is not necessary that chapter 1 has to be only about character 1 and chapter 2 about character 2..... you can tell about both the characters in both the chapters.

    Let's say the chapter is about a meteorite shower seen in both Moscow(char 1) and London(char2) at the same time.

    Chapter 1: The Meteorite Shower

    Moscow 9.45 am GMT. Putin was walking down the streets, signalling for a cab when suddenly.... blah blah blah....

    #

    London 9.45 am GMT. Sofia was naked inside the Buckingham Palace, looking for her Prince. She heard people screaming........... blah blah


    EDIT:
    Sorry, reading your question again I realize you already know this :)
     
  7. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    It can be done, it has been done. The trick though is to make it all work out smoothly without confusing your readers. I've written a few pieces where this "trick", as my sister calls it, has been done.

    So yes, you can do it, just be careful to make it clear and precise, the Lord of the Ring books are a good example on how to switch from character to character smoothly and without confusing your readers.
     
  8. MissBelle
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    MissBelle Member

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    That is fine. I actually really like that in books and movies. Especially when you learn a little more about what happened from each character’s experience of it. Just make sure your not confusing your readers.
     
  9. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    It's fine, it happens in The Stand a bit... I actually kind of like that sometimes.
     
  10. krystalpendragon
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    krystalpendragon Member

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    Thanks for the replies :)
     
  11. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Try listing out all of the events that happen in the chapter you write first, just to make sure that you don't conradict yourself. Unless the POV switches to a character that is in a totally different place. If so, still try to include something that indicates that the chapters are occuring simultaneously.

    It can be done, but if what you're writing is confusing to you, its most likely confusing to us.
     

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