1. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Writing: Flashing Forward Techniques

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by blackstar21595, Apr 27, 2013.

    I'm curious to know what everyone does to indicate a flash forward in their stories if they do it. I've authors use a bold period between paragraphs like this.

    Elaine told her brother to leave.
    .
    Elaine's brother was quiet.


    Some just make two lines instead of one like this.

    Anna went to bed.


    In school, Anna took notes.
     
  2. Inquisitor Ehrenstein
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    Inquisitor Ehrenstein Member

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    I think having a separate paragraph would do it. You should also have other signs of what the time is.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    In a manuscript you would use a centered, "#," but in a printed book a perspective change or leap in time is denoted by a few line breaks. You could also just start a new chapter. Or if the time jump isn't that far, you can just start a new paragraph.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A scene change does not absolutely require a break mark (the centered single # in manuscript) or a new chapter. It's a good idea if you are making a large hop in space or time or POV, though.

    A scene change is a scene change, though. Your job as a writer is to manage the transition for the reader, and that is true whether the scene change represents taking a break for lunch or shifting to a small room on another world twenty years later occupied by an alien historian.
     
  5. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i tend to use flashbacks more than flash forwards and place a row of * in the centre of the page to mark a change in time
     
  6. Sue Almond
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    Sue Almond Member

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    I don't think it matters whether you use a row of asterisks, stars, or spaces. What matters is how you start the next paragraph and make it clear in the narrative or dialogue that a shift has occurred. I hate it, and find it really distracting if I have read half a paragraph before I realize. If there was one 'correct' way to do this there would be a 'rule' and we would know what it was, as with so many things. Just make it clear in some way so that you do not lose the poor reader.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think he was talking about a short break in the narrative time chronology, not a flash forward to a scene in the distant future. I was confused by the thread title as well.
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    oooh.... hmm that makes it a lot more difficult, as i use past tense and stick to it
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    It matters if you plan on sending a correctly formatted manuscript to an agent and or publisher.
     
  10. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Anna went to bed.


    * * *


    In school, Anna took notes.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Not to nitpik but, if you don't mention something like, "The next day" it sounds like a description of an Anna activity, "Anna always takes notes in class."

    The point is what's on the page tells the reader some time has passed. If it's more time than a simple scene change, it might need more. I've been putting the '#' in my draft even if the time shift is short, but in the final draft I may just use line spaces in some of the scenes.

    I think the asterisks are visually nice.
     

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