1. EmotionalPassion
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    EmotionalPassion New Member

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    Fading backward and forward in time

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by EmotionalPassion, Nov 26, 2014.

    I'm going to attempt to write a romance novel but the ideas I have for this novel seem some what... Impossible.

    I have started to plan this novel and have characters B and G - B standing for boy and G standing for girl. For the plot of this novel, I would like it so that the reader looks back on their past but now and then it resumes to the present. I am unsure on how I would put this into words or how I could even make this work. Characters B and G are looking for "true" love, obviously, as it's a romantic novel but they're both looking for love for the same reason - to replace their fathers love.

    Character B looses his father when his mother and father get divorced after his dad not long had cancer. His father used to see his children every weekend, it then went onto it being every other weekend and progressively he stopped seeing his kids after the father and Character B have a really big argument. Also, the dad never really tried with his kids even when his ex-wife and him were wedded.

    Character G is daddy's little princess... She could never do anything wrong in his eyes but one afternoon they have a disagreement over something (unsure what of yet) and she storms out the door saying something like "Mum was right, you're no dad!" and she gets back home later to find out that he died (also undecided on cause of death). She feels really bad about what she recently, cold heartedly, had said to him and feels really guilty for his death. I'll also make it so that everything between her and him was going so well and make the reader think that something expected or obvious is going to happen but then it all goes down-hill.

    As you could've probably guessed, both of these plots are set in the past. This is also when Character B and Character G do not know each other. How wold I change between her past and his past and then resume it to the present where they first meet? Like, it goes from his past, to hers, to the present and then back to the past!!

    Sorry if this is hard to make sense of and thank you for taking your time in reading this.
    I really do hope that this comes together smoothly as I'm at a young age and aspire to write brilliant stories.

    Thank you once again,
    Marcus.
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe tell the present in third person (maybe even with present tense verbs) and let B and G tell their own stories in first person past tense, making it clear who is talking at any given time.

    B and G could even have a conversation in the present, where each one learns about the other one's past. The reader learns about their past by eavesdropping on this conversation, so to speak.

    If I were writing this story, then I would certainly like to have an idea of how I would frame it, but when I start writing it, I would not worry about framing it "properly". At least, I would not worry about the finer points of the language utilized. I would just write it in the easiest, clearest way possible (no matter how boring) so that I know what happens in my own story and when it happens. For me, that means third-person present omniscient, where each scene has a heading; the heading is simply the date and time when it takes place. I might or might not write it out of chronological order -- whichever order gives me the best appreciation of how different parts of the story relate to each other.

    Then I would go back and completely rewrite it to make it fit whatever style I think is best for it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
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  3. EmotionalPassion
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    EmotionalPassion New Member

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    I understand what you mean, I'll bare this in mind when I come round to writing it as I'm only in planning stages now and have just come up with another idea for the present. I'll finish up with that and then I'll get to thinking about either of the two ways you've just suggested.

    Thank you my great friend, you've really enlightened me.
     
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  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Glad you like the idea. When you were writing your reply, I edited my post to add my thoughts about how I personally would write the first draft and how the first draft would differ from the second draft. You might find those thoughts helpful as well.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You are talking about flashbacks. My book has them though other writers warn against using them, I say bah! ;)

    So the way I did it is, I just wrote the scenes and figured out later how to merge them in the story.

    When you are going back in time, (always a chapter change), you need that to be clear from the scene. I refer to my character's age and name in the flashbacks, plus the scene is completely different from the present story.

    My critique group gave me some hints on making the character's voice the correct age when the current and younger character sounded too much alike.
     
  6. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree GC, they are totally fine, if, like everything else, they serve a purpose.

    To the OP, I just read one of Alice Munro's collections and she is particularly adept and moving around in time. You might want to read some of her work and see the methods she uses.
     
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  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every character in a novel has a back-story...the life that brought him to this position, with his all his fears and failings, his competence and confidence. Sometimes the author just up and blurts it out right there in the first few pages. It's generally better to drip-feed it in, one hint at a time, as seems appropriate with the rest of the story. That way, the reader gets a chance to guess what the skeleton in the closet is, and then feels really smug when he is proven right!
     
  8. EmotionalPassion
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    EmotionalPassion New Member

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    I'll be sure to look up her book and hopefully be able to extract ideas or come up with a way of flash-backing.

    How would I keep the readers attention because I find that if I "drip-feed it in" then it tends to get boring to read and the purpose would be to make the reader want to continue reading.

    Thank you both for your feedback.
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Something like:

    James looked moodily into the sunset. How would anybody ever understand how he felt about his father?

    as a teaser, then (later passage):

    The flashing river rippling past below their feet reminded him of all the times that his father had taken him fishing. He'd never appreciated those times as much as he did now.

    and so on.

    You might need a "flashback" chapter to answer all the questions that your teasers have raised, but not necessarily. But start with a great slab of back-story and you're almost certain to lose a reader who (at that point) doesn't care whether MC lives or dies.

    BTW, I don't much like Daemon's idea of B & G having a conversation where they bare their souls...I've read too many stories where the author thought that was the way to explain something to the reader and slipped into "lecturer" mode! Perhaps I've suffered from reading badly-done stuff, so just a caveat.
     
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  10. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is sometimes called the by the way Bob method. "Did I ever tell about the time..." It's easy to be cheesy using this method.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    When I started my story I tried thinking of the backstory as just that, background. But it soon became apparent that the backstory was a major part of the story. That's when I decided telling two parallel stories with the main character in different time frames was what I needed to do. I had the time frames converge in the present about the middle of the book. It's working well.

    So it all depends, in my opinion, on the story you are telling.
     
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