1. Baller Dale
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    Baller Dale Member

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    Is nonlinear narrative frowned upon?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Baller Dale, Feb 12, 2013.

    I'm writing a story whereby the events don't occur in order -- similar to the movie "Pulp Fiction".

    Is it only okay for movies to do it or can novelists also write nonlinear so long as the day or time is clearly stated?

    Thank you
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, listing the time or date doesn't really help me keep track of things. I glance at it but by the end of the segment, I see the next time/date and have forgotten what the first one was. I think 'signposts' within the segment works better, but again, that's just personal opinion.
     
  3. Asaph Judea Wagner
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    Asaph Judea Wagner Member

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    I don't know. Movies like Memento and Mr. Nobody did it very well. Cloud Atlas is a book that was made into a film that also does it well in writing. Pulp fiction just left me confused. I think the usage of "anchors" as in events happening in one t explain the others are useful. I think telling relative time like 2 days after or a year before is more useful than a clear date.
     
  4. SamanthaDay
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    SamanthaDay New Member

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    I think it's a very engaging way to formulate a story, if the story has characters that are complex or confusing. I find it more engaging when you have to think about the timeline, personally.
     
  5. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing a non-linear narrative is not frowned upon. Writing a non-linear narrative badly is. And you could replace 'non-linear narrative' which pretty much anything there.

    As with all writing techniques - try it, see how it works. But don't do it just to be clever. Do it because it lets you tell a better story.
     
  6. spartan928
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    spartan928 Member

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    Ever read Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut? This is a great example of nonlinear narrative. What makes it so effective is that the jumping around in time is such a key element of the theme and journey of the MC. If it strengthens the story go for it.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    only a very rare few writers can do it successfully... if you're one of the gifted exceptions, go ahead... if not, stick to a more easily followed time line...
     

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