1. staceylouise
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    staceylouise Active Member

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    Need to get from a - Z with b and f in between :( HELP!!!!!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by staceylouise, Feb 17, 2014.

    That's the only way I can explain in a thread title!!!! Ok so my character is a baby, which is in the prologue, but I don't want to start my book from there. I'm not sure at present whether I want to start my book from the now, the age my character is now, or stop at 2 distances inbetween, where I can still portray it as the 'now' but obviously won't be the right present time, but where it shows the characters' development over time, hence these 2 stages. If I did want to do this, ? - how? Would I start really short chapters on these? Or would I merge them together and separate them with ************** ? Wait!! After all of this questioning it's become clear in my head, decided for me. I need to jump right into the present and let my character be who she is and the way she want to be. I figured by writing and asking all of this that if I were to stop at any development point, yes the reader will already know who she is by the prologue,,but they won't know any more until she reveals it herself in the now, and will be mugh better coming out in the story itself. Sorry for answering my own question here!!!!
     
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  2. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    You're welcome, glad I could help.
     
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  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Glad we could help ;)

    Seriously, I think that's the "best" choice, given what you've said about the story. I'd also suggest taking a good hard look at whether the prologue contributes anything that justifies delaying entry into the Now, but that can wait until you have it all drafted and through the first couple revision passes.

    Incorporating the glimpses of the past into the present allows you to build the context before visiting the past, so it is clear why the story flow is taking a non-linear route.
     
  4. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    None of the things you mentioned relate to the actual story. They're backstory and while they might be responsible for the character being who she is in the present, they don't matter to the protagonist in the moment she calls now, because in that moment she's focused on what has her attention. So if we're supposed to be in her POV, as against an external narrator talking about her, how can we be in her POV and hear you talking without her reacting and asking who you are?

    At some time shortly after the story begins something will go wrong and knock your protagonist out of her comfort zone. We call that the inciting incident, and it's what happens after that event that matters, because it will be devoted to her trying to recover her predictable world. But that's not possible, because that's the nature of stirytelling. Problems will continue, danger will grow, and she will have to think, act, change, and plan, trying strategy after strategy, all of which fail, till one doesn't. We call that success the climax. Then she finds out what she's won in the denouement, followed by "the end." And all that stuff that happened before the inciting incident? Who cares? It's backstory and only the author needs to know the backstory.

    If you're writing a crime novel you might need a prologue to show the crime being committed. But if not, tell the story, not about the story. Drop your reader into the story as her. Make them experience the story in real time, with deadlines and danger that keepo them from thinking about anything but what they think the protagonist needs to do next. Keep them busy. Keep them worried. And most of all, keep them entertained. It's what they paid for, Backstory doesn't entertain, it only informs.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don't know all the details of her story. It's possible that something in each of those tow past stages is important to the story.
     
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  6. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    If it is, she'll use that information in making a decision and we'll know it as she does. But if we're in her POV we cannot know what she doesn't, or be bothered with things she doesn't feel important in her moment of now. The problem with telling the reader anything before the actual story begins is that they'll probably forget it by the time they need to know it. Remember, they could be reading only for twenty minutes at lunch, so it might have been weeks between your informing them and when you expect them to make use of the information. Safer to make them know what they need to know when they need to know it.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No argument with this. I've said much the same thing many times myself.

    My point is that you seemed to be assuming that those past periods were irrelevant to the story, apart from any considerations of how that material might be presented to the reader.
     
  8. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    I'm assuming nothing. I'm going by what the OP said. But that aside, this is the second thread in which you lecture me on what I should and shouldn't say, and what the OP is thinking. My comments were directed to her. Why assume she isn't competent to respond as needed, and needs a champion to go into battle for her?
     
  9. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Sometimes, writing it out, outline or prose, the answer comes.
     

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