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Which event plotting method would you use?

  1. Linear Lines of Events

    5 vote(s)
    55.6%
  2. Time Bubble of Events

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  3. Either

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  1. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    Linear and ordered.... or Timey-Whimey?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sywo, Aug 5, 2008.

    My story at present does contain a fair amount of time travel, the effects of which increase as the story progresses and leading to a large amount of deaths.

    Due to the paradoxes that would be invoked by such actions, I've placed safe guards to ensure that people don't go around meeting themselves etc etc. The real problem is in real life.

    I need to put the rough events of my story onto paper and in some sort of order. So I decided to place the events that had happened so far into the traditional lines. Here is an example:

    MC gets up -> MC looks at clock -> MC goes back to bed

    But then I thought of something. There needs to be more than one line. So I had the idea of placing the events in a "bubble" and connecting them together via string or something. This would allow me to easily show the various effects time travel has on the world, as well as work out how to reduce the number of timelines I create.

    So here is the question: Linear and ordered timelines or the radical Timey-Whimey bubble?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whichever tells the story better. If you have different POV characters, you can tell the same events in the order each of those POVs experience them.
     
  3. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    Some of my characters do tell it like that, just linear however certain parts of the story may take a while to unravel as certain areas percieve time differently so it may get confusing :(

    Also the question is in real life as well. Should I make a "storyboard" style map of the plot (minus the pictures) or should I write down key events and connect them in a nonlinear way so it is easier to connect different points of view?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say whatever way helps keep it straight in you mind. Then you'll have to figure out how to explain it to the user without an infodump.
     
  5. Skralo
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    Skralo Member

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    I think you should keep it straight and simple, if you make your timelines to confusing then people won't understand your book. But f you can explain it then its really up to you.
     
  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    remember for your MC the order is liner. Even if they can go back in time and all that, they still need to move froward in a liner manner IE: They need to do step A, then B, then C, etc. Even if the events in the overall time frame fall in the order of B, A, C, Etc.

    So you might want the MC to have a liner chain of events and then have a actual time series of events, perhaps even several time lines to show alternative series of events.

    It can be quite fun working this out.
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    What model of time travel are you using? The one where there is a single, unchangeable time line?
     
  8. Chef Dave
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    Chef Dave Member

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    Will your story have paradoxes?

    An example of a paradox would be if he went back in time and killed his grandfather before this relative had time to start a family. How could the time traveler exist if his father had never existed?

    There could also be divergent time lines. If he went back in time and invested money in stocks that he knew would be incredibly profitable, he would return to his original time line to find that he was a wealthy man. Not only would he be a wealthy man, but given his wealth, he might live in a huge mansion staffed by a dozen servants. He could also have fallen for a pretty gold digger who is now his unfaithful wife who is scheming to get the best possible divorce settlement she can.

    For that matter, even the most casual encounter in the past could have devastating results. A chance encounter in the street back in 1950 could delay a passing doctor. When this person was finally able to cross, he was hit and killed by a car. The end result is that Dr. Thomas Francis Jr. died before he could invent the cure to polio ... and the time traveler returns to an alternate time line in which 35,000 Americans a year are killed or crippled by this disease.
     
  9. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    Islander, I was thinking of using both, having an unchangeable timeline then leading to a changable one.

    My story does have some Paradoxes. One of them centres around an item that is caught in a sort of timeloop, a loop that is then broken by the destruction of certain buildings ending the Paradox.

    A key event in the story is the massive event of widescale time travel. When the MC kills a God, the world is reverted to the point when the God first influenced him. The MC should have been burnt out of all of existense from the energy released from this but survived due to the intervention of angels. This leads to him retaining his paradoxical knowledge.

    Several other characters (Mostly antagonists) also survive this by residing in a different world (Mostly Hell and the Pit) based on the assumption that all the different worlds have there own form of time and so would be unaffected.

    This leads to the deaths of many when a building in the Pit is destroyed so when the time travel occurs people are inside it and are then ripped apart. Poor them.

    Sorry for the info dump I really need to restrain myself :)
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Better an infodump here than in your novel.

    Consider this, though. If your story is so convoluted that you, the author, need visual aids to keep track of it all, how in the worlds will your readers ever hope to grasp it?
     
  11. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    Better I sort that out now rather then later ;)

    This stuff may just be my aid until everything is set in stone, as my events unravel in a way that is easy to understand. Just because the paradoxes are there doesn't mean the reader needs to know much about them. (I'm a fan of subtle hints and gentle nudges in the right direction)
     

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