1. ChaseRoberts
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    ChaseRoberts Senior Member

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    Should I start from the beginning?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ChaseRoberts, Jun 16, 2009.

    So, I've been working on my novel recently, a lot, and it basically is set (the first part at least) in 2001, following the lives of several people who's lives have been affected by events that happened in the early 80's by their parents/family. I'm constantly dropping in little tidbits of flashback style prose, and characters bringing up the past and alluding to incidents past.

    Now I'm thinking, would it not make more sense to set the first part of the novel BACK then, and tell the events that led to the situations that the characters in 2001 find themselves? There's plenty of scope for content, but then it might seem repetative when the characters in 2001 start whining and talking about their past (depending on the character, one's a little bit of an EMO). Would it complicate things too much?

    Plus, at heart I'm a lazy bugger, and writing things set in the early eighties would require a lot of research on top of the stuff I'm having to do now (thank god I have access to a University Law Library is all I'm saying). But I don't know, would it improve it, or just lead to a whole lot of trouble for no effort?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I, and this is only me, obviously, would prefer to only have the events of the past aluded to or partially revealed in the present, rather than reading everything that went on then and then everything that's going on now. I mean, obviously both would work, I just like the idea that we don't necessarily know exactly what happened to them and having it slowly reveal itself as they work through it in the present.

    Sounds like a pretty good read, the kinda thing I'd like anyway...
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the meat of the story is in 2001, and you'd only be writing the 80s action to give a foundation or explanation for events in 2001, then I am not sure you need to devote chapters to it.

    Possibly the first chapter with something significant that ties in many of the characters and is relevant to immediate action in the second chapter taking place in 2001, then a strictly 80s scene might work.

    Of course, I am not sure. You know the story inside out and what is important and where things are going to go. But if your gut says tell the backstory of the 80s and bits and pieces as needed, that's the way to go.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  4. Hsnodgrass
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    Hsnodgrass Senior Member

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    I'm a big fan of using flashbacks to tell stories. It adds a certain layer of suspense, I think, because it doesn't necessarily give everything away all at once. If you were to do a few chapters in the eighties it would be like eating half of a cake in one sitting, yeah it would taste good but your stomach would hurt. I think by limiting the back story to flash backs and dialogue it would entice the reader along, not overwhelm them, and ultimately be a better read. Just my opinion though.
     
  5. dagda24
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    dagda24 Member

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    I think I agree with all of the above comments.

    Something not mentioned is keeping the focus on your main characters. You don't really want to spend the first few chapters in the 80s with their parents if they aren't the main focus of the story.
     
  6. ChaseRoberts
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    ChaseRoberts Senior Member

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    Thank you for your input. :)

    I have decided to merely add a prologue the start, a chapter long, that just details two of the major events- one for one character, the other for the other two.

    That way readers will know what happened on 'those nights' but none of the reasons why, allowing me to pepper the flashbacks and memories through the main characters later.

    I have to tell at least the first event 'as it happens' though, because of the two surviving witnesses, one is only six and the other is the sort of person who would change events to suit himself, which is seen in the way he describes it later on.
     

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