Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Writers' Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-13-2011, 10:23 AM   #1
mr ploppy
Feral Underclass
mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
mr ploppy's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,517
Karma: 26546435
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Yorkshire, tha noz
Device: 2nd hand paperback
Linear narrative (or not)

Is this something that is likely to annoy people in the same way that present tense writing seems to annoy a few people? I know a lot of it will probably depend on how it is written.

Something like:

1. fight scene part 1
2. 2 hours ago, events leading up to fight.
3. fight scene part 2
4. 6 months ago
5. what happened after the fight
mr ploppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
HarryT
eBook Enthusiast
HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
HarryT's Avatar
 
Posts: 63,376
Karma: 41542799
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: UK
Device: PW2, iPad Retina Mini, iPhone 4, MS Surface Pro, Onyx T68, N7,
I think it needs to be handled carefully. Poorly-written flashback scenes can interrupt the forward motion of the narrative. But sure - nothing wrong with it in principle. Definitely harder to write, though, than a "normal" time sequence.

And I personally dislike intensely novels written in the present tense .

EDIT: Have you read Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five"? It jumps around in time (and, it has to be said, some people dislike it for that reason). Might be worth taking a look at for inspiration as to how it can be handled.

Last edited by HarryT; 11-13-2011 at 10:51 AM.
HarryT is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Enthusiast
Old 11-13-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
Steven Lyle Jordan
Grand Sorcerer
Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Steven Lyle Jordan's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,482
Karma: 5171130
Join Date: Jan 2006
Device: none
I don't have a problem with non-linear narrative, though I've only been able to handle it in certain instances. Pulp Fiction, for example, completely turned me off. But the example you use is similar to one I've seen in numerous television shows*, and I have no problem with that arrangement. And Lost was the most non-linear TV show I've ever seen, and I thought it worked very well.

I gave a shot at mixing both. My novel Despite Our Shadows has linear main chapters, yet it is non-linear in its Ellen chapters. It was interesting staggering the Ellen chapters so the reader would appropriately discover more and more about Ellen's backstory, while not revealing the significant moment of the story until the end.

*
1. Middle of a fight/conflict
2. A few hours ago: Events leading up to conflict
3. Events reach conflict
4. (Supplemental- mini-flashback to something that will solve conflict
5. Conflict is solved/fight is won
6. Aftermath (usually with a reference to how the knowledge of the previous experiences helped solve the conflict)

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 11-13-2011 at 11:11 AM.
Steven Lyle Jordan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
Native
Cozy Bumpkin Stories
Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 66
Karma: 351904
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Sprague River, Oregon
Device: none
To me, good stories have little to do with timelines and follow their own meaning and flow, sorta like talking into the night with people who've done things. Unspoken empathy holds it together. I think you've got to be sure to connect with your audience before you abandon conventions, or they won't follow you past the first disconnected assumption.
Native is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
morriss003
Evangelist
morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.morriss003 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
morriss003's Avatar
 
Posts: 437
Karma: 3409790
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Maui
Device: kindle
I would have to read it to judge properly, but I don't see any reason offhand why it could not work
morriss003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2011, 03:36 PM   #6
mr ploppy
Feral Underclass
mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.mr ploppy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
mr ploppy's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,517
Karma: 26546435
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Yorkshire, tha noz
Device: 2nd hand paperback
The first chapter is on my blog. It's not finished yet, but the structure is there. It's basically to avoid having 30 pages at the beginning where nothing much happens, and if the characters have already been introduced doing something interesting I can gloss over the boring bits.

(contains swearing)
mr ploppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2011, 01:51 AM   #7
SmokeAndMirrors
Addict
SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.SmokeAndMirrors ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 280
Karma: 2064388
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: MN, US
Device: Kobo Touch, Asus Eee Pad Slider
I write in non-linear sometimes. It's definitely something you have to do right - and goodness knows I've gotten it wrong at times.

But I like reading it when it's done well. For some reason it feels more real to me. In reality, although we go through time linearly, we don't really experience our lives that way. There's throw-backs and lessons learned and applying that to whatever you're doing now. And that winds up having the effect of non-linearity through life. At least it does to me, but maybe I'm just crazy.
SmokeAndMirrors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2011, 09:52 PM   #8
VydorScope
Wizard
VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
VydorScope's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,388
Karma: 35140768
Join Date: Jun 2011
Device: Kindle Fire HD 7
When I have my reader hat on, for the most part I do not like it. It is one thing to have a flash back scene or three... another thing entirely for the book to be completely out of order.

As a writer... it could be fun to try and do well!
VydorScope is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2011, 09:32 AM   #9
Steven Lyle Jordan
Grand Sorcerer
Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Steven Lyle Jordan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Steven Lyle Jordan's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,482
Karma: 5171130
Join Date: Jan 2006
Device: none
Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
When I have my reader hat on, for the most part I do not like it. It is one thing to have a flash back scene or three... another thing entirely for the book to be completely out of order.

As a writer... it could be fun to try and do well!
Yeah, the trick seems to be to do it sparingly, and not to stray from the linear format too much, lest your audience gets lost.

And speaking of Lost ; When they stuck to one person's flashbacks an episode (more or less), it was easy to follow the non-linear flow --and those who watched may remember, a change to and from flashbacks was usually accompanied by a sound, almost like the roar of an incoming wave that cut off abruptly at the change, so you had an audible clue to the switchover. (Really just a replacement for the old "ripple-fade" that TV shows used to use until the ripple itself became a parody.)

The only way to accomplish the separation of two timelines in books that has ever satisfied me has been breaking them up into chapters (as I did in Despite Our Shadows). Using any other separating element (such as the extra line break or "~" within chapters) tends to get confusing, unless it is used for nothing else.
Steven Lyle Jordan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
Penforhire
Wizard
Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Penforhire ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 2,087
Karma: 6830420
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Southern California
Device: Kindle PW, PRS-650, iPhone 4, iPad 4
It is more demanding of the reader. I like it when it is well done. I happen to be reading Iain Banks' "The Crow Road" and he jumps the narrative between two generations. He is an excellent author but at times the text is still challenging.

Do it well and it adds to depth and dramatic impact.
Penforhire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2011, 01:23 PM   #11
VydorScope
Wizard
VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.VydorScope ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
VydorScope's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,388
Karma: 35140768
Join Date: Jun 2011
Device: Kindle Fire HD 7
I forget which book it was, but I did once read a book that was written backwards, that is each chapter went further back in time.. wish I could remember which it was...or if I even liked it.
VydorScope is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 02:25 AM   #12
Native
Cozy Bumpkin Stories
Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Native ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 66
Karma: 351904
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Sprague River, Oregon
Device: none
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
I write in non-linear sometimes. It's definitely something you have to do right - and goodness knows I've gotten it wrong at times.

But I like reading it when it's done well. For some reason it feels more real to me. In reality, although we go through time linearly, we don't really experience our lives that way. There's throw-backs and lessons learned and applying that to whatever you're doing now. And that winds up having the effect of non-linearity through life. At least it does to me, but maybe I'm just crazy.
Thank God for those disconnected memories that soften hard edges. It seems like all the best stories make their own associations. Maybe that's why they work so well around a campfire in the darkness, where space and time don't exist beyond the glow. But the flat page is a less forgiving environment. I always thought of the stories in my collection as chapters of a larger story about a community. Reviews say otherwise. I still think the connections work if you start with faith, in fact that was the whole point of the project. But abandoning anchors of space and time is a lot to ask of a stranger.
Native is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2011, 09:44 AM   #13
Pulpmeister
Addict
Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Pulpmeister ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 225
Karma: 1620000
Join Date: Nov 2011
Device: kindle
Therre was a book published years ago by Dean Koontz called "How to Write Best Selling Fiction" (Writers' Digest Books, 1982) which deals with the pros and cons of almost every aspect of writing novels, including where to start. As I remember, one chapter is headed "Don't start at the beginning".

While you would not necessarily agree with everything he says, the virtue of the book is that he explains the issues when he raises them, rather than just saying "Do this."

He stresses the importance of grabbing the reader's attention in the opening paragraph. (Wasn't it Mickey Spillane who said, The first page sells this book. The last page sells my next book.")
Pulpmeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2011, 12:01 PM   #14
crich70
Grand Sorcerer
crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.crich70 ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
crich70's Avatar
 
Posts: 6,554
Karma: 21803245
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monroe Wisconsin
Device: K3, Kindle Paperwhite, Calibre, and Mobipocket for Pc (netbook)
Mary Shelley used a somewhat non-linear structure when she wrote Frankenstein. Basically she wrote a 'frame' story. We start out going to the arctic with an explorer and he runs into Frankenstein (the creator not the creature) who tells his story. Several times we are brought back to the present (onboard ship) as Frankenstein has to rest and then it's back into his narrative again so the non-linear form can work. It's just not used much and you have to avoid suddenly jarring the reader out of the story by making sure that you write the transitions between story points (story past and story present) well.
crich70 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2011, 01:39 PM   #15
ApK
What did you call me?
ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.ApK ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 4,256
Karma: 34267691
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NJ, USA
Device: Kindle
Temporal discontinuity, as I call this stuff, is a very powerful device, and can be used, as can most powerful devices, for good or bad.
At it's best, it really heightens the sense of expectation, and the feeling of puzzle pieces falling into place, leading to a satisfying "aha!" moment when you see how threads eventually come together.
When not at it's best (and there is very little grey, IMO, it's either great or terrible) it's a jarring mess that leaves you with no idea what's going on, and no way to immerse yourself in the story.
My advice would be, if you can pull it off effectively, great. But listen to your editors and early draft readers if they tell you it's confusing. If so, it's probably worth a try to simplify to a more linear narrative.

ApK

Last edited by ApK; 12-24-2011 at 01:41 PM.
ApK is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
KINDLE DEAL: Ken Kinton - From Narrative to Homily ($2.78) gospelebooks Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 0 04-30-2011 12:10 PM
Margaret Atwood profile and interview at Narrative kennyc Reading Recommendations 0 11-22-2010 10:14 PM
Poetry Shakespeare, William: The Narrative Poems, v1, IMP, 20 Dec 2007 Patricia IMP Books 0 12-19-2007 08:44 PM
Poetry Shakespeare, William: The Narrative Poems, v1, 20 Dec 2007 Patricia Kindle Books 0 12-19-2007 08:33 PM
Poetry Shakespeare, William: The Narrative Poems, v1, 09 Aug 2007 Patricia BBeB/LRF Books 4 08-09-2007 08:04 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:44 PM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.