1. TereFaerie

    TereFaerie New Member

    Mar 13, 2009
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    Where to begin?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TereFaerie, Mar 13, 2009.

    Of course I'm less than 10K words away from the end of my recent NiP and I'm stuck on the ending. Oh, it'll come eventually, but I find sometimes that reading through the story as it stands helps me to glean some ideas, especially if I come across loose ends that must be tied up.

    Meanwhile, I've been toying with the idea of starting my first chapter somewhere in the mid-point of the plot, at a pivotal moment of change for my MC (for the opening scene, not the whole chapter). From there, the story is a sort of flashback for the first half of the novel, until we get to the point where the story began and continue for the second half.

    I usually write in a very linear fashion, but because the character's transition is so important (and the novel involves time travel), I think it might add some excitement to my opening, as well as pique the curiosity of the reader, giving them a desire how the character got to that point without having to start with the set-up, which is somewhat less enthralling than the book becomes.

    I also think this will establish the mood of the book from the start, rather than slowly growing darker from a fairly light introduction. And I feel like I would rather have the reader introduced to my MC when she is in real trouble, not just acting difficult because she doesn't want to move out of state with her mother right before starting her senior year.

    Does writing in a non-linear fashion come easily for anyone from the start, or do you find it easier to write chronologically and mix it up when you're finished?
    Do you find non-linear to be confusing? As for flashbacks, mine is not so much a flashback but a "this is how it happened" introduction to the story, but I know some people are very anti-flashback, however it is used.

  2. CharlieVer

    CharlieVer Contributor Contributor

    Mar 2, 2009
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    Raritan, NJ
    End your book with a water-balloon fight, a switchblade murder and the description of a penguin. It never fails.

    Okay, just kidding, of course.

    For me, the question is very subjective and really, it's all up to you. If the flashback technique works for you, use it. Non-linear will not be confusing if it's done correctly. Execution is the key. It's all a matter of how you write the story, how you let your readers know where the scene is set, when the scene is set, and the point of view of the scene.

    A well-written book can move about freely in time and setting, dramatically and to the absolute awe of the reader, and a poorly written book can confuse even the most keen-minded reader with a single poorly-executed flashback.

    My own book contains flashbacks that are intentionally set apart in a prelude, a few interludes, and a postlude, in between the books logical parts. Some of these are set hundreds of years in the past, others are set during the childhood of my characters. I believe these are well executed, and I've picked focal points for the changing scenes, so that the reading flows naturally and the reader is literally pulled from one scene to the next, hopefully, so enraptured by story that the transition neither confuses nor frustrates. I start each of my flashbacks with a "hook" (the way they recommend a book should begin) an some of my hooks naturally follows from the last line of the previous section, but I immediately make clear when and where each separate scene is set.

    Hope I've helped, and best wishes with your book!


    PS. For a peek at the beginning of my prelude, a flashback set in 1819, almost 200 years before the bulk of my story takes place (which is today) go to the Novel section of the Review Room and look for Jefferson's Bible Code. It's on page 2.

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