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  1. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Progression of time in a story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by maskedhero, Aug 4, 2014.

    I tried looking for a similar post, but could not find one this specific. If there is one, apologies.

    In my WIP I have multiple POV characters. During the entire story, time progresses with each, but there are no obvious overlaps between them. Any events that do feature overlaps of the characters do not feature an overlap of time.

    Except once, where I hit 'rewind' with one of the events, and go back a minute or so. This is the only occurrence in the story.

    Do you think that this could be disjointing to a reader?

    The event is an important one, and seeing it through multiple eyes IS important, but in a pinch it COULD be re-written.

    Do you believe most readers (though obviously, your own experience will inform your input) can deal with this small rewind, or do you think it should just be rewritten so it stays sequential?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you can do the rewind so long as you make it very clear to the reader that the rewind is happening. For example:

    Fred looked up just in time to see the passenger jet hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Screaming Sue's name, he sprinted toward the stricken building, facing a tide of people running the other way. Sirens wailed as emergency vehicles sped to the disaster. In the chaos, he stopped a moment to catch his breath, and a speeding car grazed his side knocking him flat to the sidewalk. His head hit the concrete with a sickening thud. "Sue..." He lost consciousness.

    ***

    Officer Joe Johnston was in his squadcar when the plane hit the South Tower. The radio was already alive with traffic about the attack on the North Tower, and for precious seconds it seemed Dispatch didn't know about the second collision.

    Etc.


    Obviously, it's clear to the reader that a rewind has occurred, because the plane hitting the tower happens in both sections. That gives the reader a way of synchronizing the time between Fred and Joe without getting confused.
     
  3. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Yes. It is clear that it has happened in the writing, for sure. Just kind of a strange feeling, when the rest of the novel doesn't do that.
     

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