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Thread: Chronology?

  1. #1
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    Chronology?

    I'm beginning to find that my "story" is taking on a life of its own. Going into it I had a general story line and idea on how to put it together. But as I travel through the story, events are unfolding as I write.

    My original intent was to write a prologue giving historical perspective and tie ins to the main characters past. Then I intended on the first chapter being in present tense. The time spacing being approximately ten years.

    The ten year time span in between I had planned on visiting in small bits. Somewhat like the main character was recalling or reflecting on his past. But yesterday I wrote the beginning of a chapter that dealt with his "missing" ten year span. It seemed to read better as a stand alone chapter. I even like it better than beginning the book in present tense.

    Would it work if I placed that chapter later as a reflection/recollection? Or is it better (since this is my first attempt at a novel) to just work on it in chronological order?

    This possibly may be better as a post in brainstorming. My apologies if this is the case.

    Brett



  2. #2
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    Yeah I know what you mean about a story, or even a character, taking on a life of its own. Like you, I have a general idea of where my stories are going, but I have discovered that how they reach their destination varies a great deal from my original concept.

    Best advice I can give is let the creative juices flow. You can always go back later and rearrange things if you don't believe your story is flowing as it should.

    My first MS starts with a flashback scene [ which I normally hate] but I felt was necessary to show the reader why my MC was where he was seventeen years after the incident had taken place.

    Just my thoughts, to each his own.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Get rid of the prologue and just start telling the story.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. Less complicated that way.

  5. #5
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    Makes me remember the outline vs no outline theory where Louis L'amour was concerned. His daughter once asked him why he was so consumed by the piece he was then working on and he replied, 'I can't wait to see what happens next!' My personal approach is to get the thing completed, get it done, narration and dialogue, even the synopsis. Then take a break, drink as much as you can within the law and common sense, have a good sleep. Then take a look, if you dare, and see where you stand. It's usually not as bad as you would think. That's when the work begins. But you have all the facts to work with. Like a puzzle, take it apart and put it together again. Then send it out. After 3 rejections, put it in the shop and do the whole damn thing again. What a stupid way to waste one's time!

  6. #6
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    I like your approach, @alcarty, though I don't know if it'd work for me. @BrettArthur, as far as whether or not your section would work better in or out of sequence, I'd say it depends first on how intelligible the story you're telling is without that information, and only then on the dramatic impact of putting the information later. It's hard to break the rules and maintain plot, flow and characterization, but we've all read people who've done it brilliantly.
    Last edited by Sumi; 02-10-2013 at 06:31 AM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks all! I was a big fan/reader of Louis L'amour as a youngster and I still am.

    I've never written anything longer than a short story. So attempting a novel has been a daunting task at times. With that in mind I've begun to "attack" the storyline in sections/locations. The MC is a world traveler and I have been treating each section/location as its own. I have a general outline in my head where I want to take the MC and have been keeping a timeline at the back of my mind as I write each section.

    This method seems to be working well for me. Also if i hit a writers block or get bored I can work on another section. Building credibility or rather, giving life to the MC is where I am at with the novel. The meat and potatoes are yet to come. Not wanting to get hung up on word count but it is currently around 25k.

    I am using my personal experiences of global travel from my past as inspiration. That was 18 years ago and at times my memory can be a bit fuzzy. It has been enlightening to have the internet for research at the tips of my fingers. I use Wikipedia a fair amount and enjoy google maps street view. Revisiting countries I was in long ago and placing the MC in exotic locations within the storyline. As an exercise in creativity, the first country I placed my MC in, I had never been to. That was fun.

    It has been strange to find each section take on a life of its own. I don't know exactly how each section will end at the onset of writing. But I find it interesting that the MC and those within the storyline tend to come to life in my mind and hopefully they come to life to a reader. Situations and conversations just seem to grow on their own. I find myself having to restrain from adding too much complexity to the plot. I'm concerned that I will fail at tying in all the twists and turns within the plot to a cohesive or logical outcome.

    The journey continues..

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