1. Jaydrian
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    Jaydrian Member

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    Will this destable my story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jaydrian, Jan 8, 2017.

    I'm in the early works of a new idea so bare with me. My story has Protagonist A dealing with her therapist in the present, though the reader isn't exactly sure why she's in said situation. Every present moment leads to a pivotal moment in the past that introduces the main characters, and why the hell A is even there in the first place. There are frequent time jumps between past and present, while every time the reader delves back into the past it's a little closer to the present event. I want your outside opinions on this. If you were the reader would the constant time jumps disconnect you from the story and why?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily - as long as each time frame is compelling enough to keep my interest, and as long as the time-shifts are clearly communicated, I don't see a problem.
     
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  3. Jaydrian
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    Jaydrian Member

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    I also forgot to mention!! This is a type of character study that delves deep into the relationship of A and a significant other before hitting the present moment. In your opinion, does first or third person work better for this situation?
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as I'm concerned, first person and close third person are essentially interchangeable in terms of what you can do with them--they just use different pronouns. So I'd say go with whichever you're most comfortable using, or, if you're writing for a market, whichever one is most popular with the readers in that market.
     
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  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @BayView . In fact, I think this kind of thing has probably been done before. (Starting in the present day, jumping way back in time, moving slowly forward in set pieces while occasionally touching base with the present day, and ending with a present that moves into the future and the conclusion of the story.)

    Essentially this is about a person recovering her memory or confronting her memory? So if the time jumps follow what happens in the therapy session, you should be fine. As long as you make these jumps clear. If she's at the therapist in the present day, make sure the readers know this. Devise some way to make the transitions clear and you should be fine.

    What might not work so well is if the jumps appear out of chronological order. If she's at the therapist, then she jumps back to 1992, then jumps back further to 1986, then forward to 1997, then backwards again to 1989, then back to the therapist, etc. This can become a real dog's breakfast to organise. However, you've said that "every time the reader delves back into the past it's a little closer to the present event," so that probably won't be an issue.

    NOTHING puts me off reading more than being unclear as to what the heck is going on—so do make the transistions as obvious as you can. I don't mind being confused as to WHY something is happening. In fact, this might actually be the point of the story. But if I can't follow the events at all, I will soon give up reading the story and move on to something else.

    I would also watch your word choices, and don't rely on spellchecking. In your title, you probably should have said "Will this destabilize my story?" Not 'destable.' Every time I look up the word 'destable' I get sent to 'detestable' instead. So I don't think 'destable' is even a word. And you don't want 'so bare with me,' unless we're all taking our clothes off together! :) You want 'so bear with me.'

    This is just a forum, and it doesn't really matter a lot if an occasional error creeps into posts. But I'd watch a tendency to use words that either don't exist or are the wrong spellings of the word—that a spellchecker won't catch. If these kinds of errors appear in your writing, you'll struggle to sell it.

    Anyway, good luck. Your story premise sounds interesting. I do like stories that explore a person's past, and how the past affects their mental state.
     
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  6. Jaydrian
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    Jaydrian Member

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    Thank you for everything, and apologies on my part. I recently finished a 48 hour shift; I'm still a bit loopy lol. Everything I typed made sense in my head until you pointed it out to me!
     
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  7. WNP
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    WNP Member

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    Time jumps like this have been done before and as long as they're done well there's no issue. I read a book called Level 2 which does something similar, also the computer game Assassins Creed (now a film) has similar flashbacks
     
  8. Brie Marie
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    Brie Marie New Member

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    As long as it's made obvious when it's present or past, it should be fine. Sounds interesting, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017 at 4:29 AM
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  9. T.S. Wieland
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    T.S. Wieland New Member

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    I'd say just so long as your don't lose the reader with a constant jump back in forth, you should be fine. Try to keep things as direct as possible is my best suggestion. Sounds awesome though!
     
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  10. GrapeApe
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    GrapeApe New Member

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    I think if the time jumps are made obvious to the reader and pertinent to the story it shouldn't be a problem. I recently read a book where there were some time jumps to explain certain fears and views. Great book.
     
  11. D.L. Masterson
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    D.L. Masterson New Member

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    Time jumps in my opinion give depth to said character so you can understand more about her and envelope yourself into their being. Become them. Which is what a book is all about, right? I am not a fan of books that just throw characters in the mix without background. As stated though separate present and past. One idea that popped up right away that I am sure has not been used much is hypnotism. But that ones a little out there. Good luck.
     

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