1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Urgh. I've confused even myself here...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Oct 27, 2010.

    You probably won't have much more luck :p Maybe you should take notes...

    I'm having issues with a not-flashback. It's not a flashback but it happens before the scene that preceeds it in my storytelling, by about half an hour or so. Really not so far back I'd want to crack out the flashback language. I have no way to bridge into it from the previous (but later in timeline) scene, since it's from a different character's perspective and I hate the idea of trailing off with a "so what are you doing here anyway lol" as the last line of the scene, especially as it'd mean adding to/cutting some stuff I kinda want in there as the last paragraphs.

    I can't put the scenes in chronological order because, well, not because the whole novel so far has been out of order. It's been in two different orders which have met up. Emphasising this requires the later-in-time scene to come before the earlier one, both because it's too blatant, and not the right view point to actually reveal it anyway, but if the scenes followed in the correct chronological order it would ruin the impact since the first-in-time scene would set it up too neatly for it to be a surprise (since the focus character's last scene was still a week before present day before I drag her up to date). And the second scene concerned is just a quick conversation of "I'll do this if you do that" that's essential to the plot, but doesn't make for good start-of-a-chapter impact, setting aside my own twisty storytelling and just looking at what looks good.

    I just don't know how to start this second scene of the chapter, because of its place in the timeline. Do I go with flashback language? ("Katie HAD been doing something I can't be bothered describing...") or just go with "Katie was in the usual past tense doing something blah blah..." and hope that the context comes clear from the discussion?

    I just feel like it'd be a bit too much to ask when, right after proving that the timeline has normalised, 2 characters have a discussion where it quickly becomes apparent took place a short time before the other scene. I feel like I need the flashback language, but it just doesn't sit right when I look at it on the page, with no lead into it, no instant obvious reason it should be told like that, especially when this is Flashback Day when the characters will be having genuine moments of past-exploration. Like, you know, years back, rather than What I Had For Breakfast.

    But I LIKE that the timeline is all screwy... Normally I have no problem with it, having written a whole novel and a half in this messed up style already... It's just the presentation of these 2 scenes which are too close together in time but both plot-essential.

    ARGH normally rambling to the new thread box on a writing forum FIXES things. I must write about 100 of these to every 1 I post but this looks like one I can't figure out myself... :/ Hitting the new thread button. Sorry guys! :p

    If you understand my problem at all, what would you advise?
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would use the most simple and honest approach I can imagine.

    "Half an hour earlier at location X, this happened...."
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    *twitches* After writing a novel and a half where only 1/3 or less of scenes ever follow directly on from the previous one, I've both done that too much, and tied myself in knots avoiding it (can you tell? :p)... Didn't even occur to me that was an option since I try so hard not to do it. I'd rather not, but maybe it is the only way in this case, because it's got me stumped.

    BLARGH. I'd say I need to sleep on this, but I've been sleeping on it about a week and this is going to turn into writer's block if I don't force myself over it soon... I have the whole scene written except the opening paragraphs to it.
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I get what you mean... sort of.
    Apart from what w176 suggested, maybe just put the date and times in? Like 'Wednesday 27th October 21:50' and then the scene.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do it the easy way, then go back and edit it when you're done with the first draft, to avoid writer's block. You will have to make changes anyway. Maybe you'll rewrite the two scenes so much, the question becomes moot.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I am going to do that... *sigh* I spend so long trying not to take easy short cuts in writing. :p
     
  7. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    I'd suggest Katie doing a quick mental recap, an inner monologue. Without knowing the context of your novel, I'm gonna go ahead and use that "so what are you doing here anyway?" line that you seem to want to avoid, to show you what I mean.

    Chapter x
    Katie didn't answer straight away. In truth, the casual question had caught her a little off-guard. What was she doing here? It wasn't something that she could explain easily. For starters, there was the incident that meant she wasn't where she was supposed to be that morning. Could she really share the details of that right now? And then there was the cryptic conversation with Jeff, barely an hour ago. His words hadn't seemed to make sense at the time - they were starting to fall painfully into place now.
    "Katie, I've something important to tell you," he had said to her. She had been able to tell straight away that she was not going to like it. ... etc.

    This keeps Katie very much in the present scene, but has her thinking back to the events that led her there. It might be a good idea to post some reminders that she's still in the present day as the narrative goes on, such as stimuli or questions that make her attention snap back to the present day, before she starts thinking back again.

    I hope that's coherent advice - it's not easy to explain what I mean!
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh! So set the 2nd scene in a logical time AFTER the first, but just have Katie recap the morning's events before we move onto new stuff?

    Hrm.

    Hrm indeed.

    *wanders off with brain making ticking noises*

















    *looks at notes*

    I think she was doing that in the first place and I just ballsed it up and got confused >_<
     

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