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  1. Tolsof

    Tolsof Member

    Jul 29, 2012
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    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tolsof, Aug 1, 2012.

    Well I hope this is in the right place but...
    I am starting a new novel but the problem that I have come across is how I want the story to progress (just a straight timeline, jumps around etc.)
    The beginning that I am most found of (I have written three so far) starts in medias res. I am considering continuing forward but giving background information with flash backs but am worried this could get confusing.

    Your thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
  2. B93

    B93 Active Member

    Jul 23, 2012
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    It's hard to judge based on so little information. It can be done well, and it can be done badly.

    I'd suggest you go ahead and write more of the story and see how it fits. I'm one who wants to get the parts visible as soon as possible, and has no reluctance to move them around and modify them in revision.
  3. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    Make sure that any flashbacks are actually important to the telling of your story and not just background information that you need but the reader doesn't.
  4. tinyplanets

    tinyplanets Member

    Jul 14, 2012
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    Warwickshire UK
    From personal experience I can say that I found it a bit of of nightmare trying to keep the tense consistent while your writing. However I found it necessary to write this way due to the nature of the story.
  5. sunwave

    sunwave Member

    Nov 23, 2010
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    @tinyplanets: *you're

    Anyway, to the OP: You can start anywhere you want, anytime you want, and you can relay any information you want in any way. With what we know, we can't really say anything about 'the best order' for your timeline.
    However, if you start 'in medias res' (and if you like that, just do that) then I want to give you this tip: You can give information about the past in different ways than flashbacks. Yes, a flashback is a simple way of giving
    this information, but there are other ways:

    Characters talking about history (battles they fought, the way someone met a friend, how they lost their father).
    Small details of information spread out (instead of large flashbacks).
    Dreams of trauma's.
    Notes and remarks by characters on the current situation.
    Same, but with thoughts of the POV character (if you write in a POV that permits that).

    Or, of course, not at all. Let readers puzzle about it and let them make their own assumptions (they're good at this).
  6. Siena

    Siena Contributing Member

    Jun 3, 2012
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    It's a bit of an illusion, because you still have to tell a story. You're going to jump to a beginning and loop back to your media res.

    If you're having problems with this, it's far easier to tell a linear story and then play around with editing options once you have it.

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