1. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    timeline problems

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Masli, Nov 18, 2012.

    I jut started a new story. It begins with my MC getting stabbed (not dying)
    The next paragraph is sort of the backstory as to how he got up to that point. (timewise it would be about an hour or so backstory)
    So far no problem.

    But then... Then I'm up to the point where my story started. Here is where my problem starts, because how do I continue?
    I mean the fight isn't over yet. So do I describe the first sentences again? Or do I skip it and continue where I left it? But then there would be a sorta weird 'hole' as the backstory continues into the present...

    Please help me out, because it's blocking me for weeks now :(
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Two questions: 1) how important is it for the reader to know the "backstory"? 2) When does the reader need to know it?

    I think your problem stems from the fact that the fight is not yet over when you flash back. A flashback in this situation would suggest the mc thinking back to what had occurred, and that should take place when the mc is able to be contemplative, which he can't be when he's just been stabbed and still needs to try to either defend himself or find a way out. I suggest that you finish the fight scene first. If the mc is rescued by a friend, or is even left lying on the floor, desperately praying for help, THEN you can tell us how he got there - thereby creating tension for the reader as to whether or not help will arrive in time. But make sure that whatever you tell the reader about how the mc got into that fix is connected to what will come after.

    As Cogito likes to say, "Write story, not backstory".
     
  3. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    thank you so much for your advice. It's very clear, and makes really sense! :)
    the advice on the second point you made is also clear, but a really hard thing for me.
    I seem to have some problems with defining what's important to the reader and what not, because everything is important to me ;)
    So I'll leave it in for now, and maybe when I actually finish it and reread it, I'll decide to leave it out.

    Thanks again for your advice, you have been most helpfull!
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Glad to help. Best of luck with it. It certainly sounds like an arresting opening.
     
  5. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Why does it need to start with the stabbing?
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see the problem. It's just a paragraph of backstory, right?

    You have the stabbing, then the events that lead up to the stabbing, up to the very event right before the stabbing, then go back to what happens after in the preceding paragraph.
    Or, maybe you could end the backstory paragraph with a comment about the stabbing itself. Like, "having actually felt the two inches of steel bite into his thigh, John realized he should have paid more attention to Joe's threats."
     
  7. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    because it's literary the beginning of the story, and my MC's relationship
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    But if you have to jump directly to an explanation of what lead to the stabbing then it isn't the start of your story at all. The start is the lead up to the stabbing. Only if the explanation comes much later would the stabbing be a viable start.
     

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