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  1. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Scene Placements, Flashbacks, and Flashforwards

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JTheGreat, Jun 4, 2011.

    This one story I had grew from my mind from a particular scene. It's poignant in the narrative and pretty much the start of the actual concept. The scene is my protagonist, Scott, sneaking out of the school (where he's learning to use his psychic powers) by nightfall to teach one of his female friends from class how to ride a bike. It's particularly smoggy at night, so they wear bandannas over their faces and goggles to make for easier lessons. From there they witness a crime (the city is corrupt and psychic monarchs are falling from power) and use their telekineses to stop the crook, and they effectively take on the identities of nighttime vigilantes.

    I'd like to start the story with that scene, but there's a few problems with that. Some of the plot before that is important such as how he discovers his powers and his first day at the academy, as well as how him and Naomi (the bike girl) meet and discuss sneaking out. I'm writing the story in third-person, so I can't really do a "and that's how we got here" line. And if I present the scene before first backtracking, do I need to write the scene again before I continue with the story (realizing their abilities as vigilantes, etc.)? How would I skip over it? Help, please!
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm glad you can't do the bolded. It's a disgusting literary device, IMO.

    It really depends on whether you want to write a single plot line or more. If it's a single plot line, you can hint at it several times, with dialogue and thoughts and such, like, "Like that night, several years ago." *Distant look*

    Hopefully you won't do anything as tacky as THAT line. :p But hopefully you get the idea. Flashbacks and such aren't the only way to refer to the past. If you want to refer to the past in DETAIL, then feel free, but really, I think it's what they do and not how they do it that matters there. They can talk about it to someone, perhaps.

    I'm not really sure what you mean by:
    "And if I present the scene before first backtracking, do I need to write the scene again before I continue with the story (realizing their abilities as vigilantes, etc.)?"
    That makes little sense to me. If you write the scene once, why would you need to write it again?

    As for the plot point of him "realising his powers", I'll suggest you don't make that seem too special. Make it into something happy, but something potentially expected. I mean, do it how you want, but that's my suggestion. Random psychic abilities in someone who doesn't really have a reason to have them annoys me. It's why I don't really like X-Men. There's no genetic reason for their genetic mutations, especially with how specific they are, et cetera.

    Anyway, it sounds like an okay plot. I'd suggest you start the plot from the point at which they take on new identities, but, again, that's just a suggestion. Use dialogue and thoughts to flesh out the past. That's how it works in real life. I've never known anyone to have flashbacks except perhaps in a dream, and dream sequences can be tacky.
     
  3. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Sorry for being unclear. What I meant was, "How do I explain the sudden shifting on the story's timeline from before the bike scene to after?"
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah. Well, you make it obvious. If you're going to write it as a flashback, or as a detailed scene, there's plenty of ways. If it's in the middle of another scene, you can always have it be a character's flashback with, "<name> was drawn back to reality/the present by an EXPLOSION!!!!! OHNOEZ" or something like that. C:

    Alternatively, describe the characters in the scene as being younger. "Their skin was smoother, their hair was shorter. They had not yet outgrown their pimples. Then some stuff happens and there's AN EXPLOSION!!!!! OHNOEZ" C:

    Some writers prefer to change tense for flashbacks and different scenes. I write in present tense a lot. If I were to write a flashback (I probably wouldn't), I'd be wanting to write it in past tense.

    EDIT: Oh, and if you use chapter titles other than "One" and "Two", et cetera, you can always make it a separate chapter and use the name as a hint, like, "Way Back Then" or "When the Explosion happened" or "The First Night". Stuff like that.

    Make it your own, though.
     
  5. Enerzeal
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    You could use a prologue to explain how he got his powers. A high action prologue that then goes into the first chapter with an average night on the job situation.

    Or you could use the perspective where the main character tells the story, that way you can freely throw in an explanation of what happened.
     
  6. _Lulu_
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    Couldn't you do that as your first chapter and use a date and then for the next part date it back to when you want to start from and work your way back to that scene, then continue on from that scenerio? I've seen that done before (without dates though), I mentioned the book in another thread here about endings as beginnings.
     

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