1. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    Micro time skipping

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcuslam, Jul 15, 2012.

    We all know jumping back and forth in time throughout a story can disorient the reader. Now, let's consider this paragraph:

    Michael watched as his teammate John dribbled the ball past half court. Tim is open under the ring. Michael admitted he was impressed by how John reacted. John threw a bullet pass to Tim before anyone else on the court realized there was a man left open.

    Next, let's swap the last two sentences around so we get this:

    Michael watched as his teammate John dribbled the ball past half court. Tim is open under the ring. John threw a bullet pass to Tim before anyone else on the court realized there was a man left open. Michael admitted he was impressed by how John reacted.

    In the first version, after reading, "Michael admitted he was impressed by how John reacted", readers might be interested in knowing what impressed Michael. They'll get their answer in the next sentence. Anticipation is always good. However, I've read that this is not allowed, as it counts as time skipping. The second version has no time skip issue, but it might less interesting to read.

    I would love to hear what people's opinions are on this. The first version's style can definitely be seen in published novels. Still, it's worth thinking about. This is not really a grammatical issue, so I've decided to post it here. I hope that's okay. Thanks :).
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know what other people will say, but I'll admit when I read, "Michael admitted he was impressed by how John reacted" in the first version I went back to the start (twice!) in attempt to work out what he was impressed with because I assumed I was missing something.
     
  3. Kammerice
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    Kammerice New Member

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    I'd always go with the first version. However, if I was trying to avoid any confusion, I'd swap the period at the end of "...John reacted" for a colon - that way the reader should be aware that what impressed Michael is dependent upon what's about to happen and will be explained in the sentence after the colon.

    Of course, that may be entirely the incorrect use for that punctuation mark...
     

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