Kindle Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Someone pointed out in a review that a lot of my work involves telling the story by jumping from scene to scene in bits and pieces and yet, keeping the coherency of the storyline in context. This, I suppose, would be the reverse of just telling a straight line story. Forgive me if there are actual literary names for these types of narrative. If they do have names, does anyone know what they are called? And which type of writing do you do or prefer to read?  ???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,767 Posts
Hi Brendan:

I've heard several terms ofr what you describe. The single story line is called "single threaded," which the multi-scene method is called "an intercut story." The melded of the strands into a whole is referred to as "jump cuts."

Edward C. Patterson
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,469 Posts
I write in a "staged" or "concurrent" style. In other words, there are multiple places and concurrent story lines occurring during the same time frame. Most of these subplots intersect at some point in the tale.

I've also heard the term "linear" used to describe first person "straight line" writing. Nelson Demille is famous for his "linear" writing because even his flashbacks are written in first person.

I've had negative reviews stating my books "hop around too much," but I can give hundreds of examples of best selling authors who do exactly the same thing. I'm sure they are better at it than I, but the style is valid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,299 Posts
Joe_Nobody said:
I've had negative reviews stating my books "hop around too much," but I can give hundreds of examples of best selling authors who do exactly the same thing. I'm sure they are better at it than I, but the style is valid.
You're in good company. William Faulkner has taken some pretty brutal hits on his writing style, one reviewer describing his stream of consciousness writing as "Utterly unintelligible." http://www.amazon.com/The-Sound-Fury-Corrected-Faulkners/product-reviews/0679600175/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

Often, the issue is not the writing style, at all, but the reader's unfamiliarity with it. I can understand how someone who is only familiar with Patterson and Kuntz would have a problem following Faulkner, and other writers who practice a style of writing not often seen today. And I mean no insult to Patterson and Kuntz by saying that. But after reading many, many online reviews, it does make me wonder how much study is done of the classics in school, these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,705 Posts
I've never attempted the intercut style in my adult life. Part of the reason is that I have not yet learned to plan a story to the degree required (I will not use the word "outline" because I don't think that's precisely what I'm going for), and part is that as a rule I prefer a straight-line narrative myself. Of course, the last two books I wrote were both in the first person, so that tends to dictate structure as well.

I don't necessarily hate intercut stories though. Sometimes it's interesting to wonder how the storylines will finally merge. I've also seen changes in perspective accomplished this way, so that one character's viewpoint will refer to something by a fairly generic description while another will see it with a term attached, e.g. "soul patch" vs. "stupid chin beard".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,469 Posts
Lummox JR said:
I've never attempted the intercut style in my adult life. Part of the reason is that I have not yet learned to plan a story to the degree required (I will not use the word "outline" because I don't think that's precisely what I'm going for), and part is that as a rule I prefer a straight-line narrative myself. Of course, the last two books I wrote were both in the first person, so that tends to dictate structure as well.

I don't necessarily hate intercut stories though. Sometimes it's interesting to wonder how the storylines will finally merge. I've also seen changes in perspective accomplished this way, so that one character's viewpoint will refer to something by a fairly generic description while another will see it with a term attached, e.g. "soul patch" vs. "stupid chin beard".
If I may, I've found working backwards helps me with a complicated story plan. I often have a situation or status in mind, and then I work backwards to make it creditable.

Example: Riots are breaking out due to a run on the banks. What would prompt that? How would that happen? How can I make that believable?
I then get busy writing the sequence of events leading up to that moment. Sort of an after-the-fact justification for a critical point in the book. The beginning chapters of my books were actually written last. If the chapters were printed in the order written, it would be completely in reverse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
I blame it on movies, but I find all my writing in the past year is overloaded with intercutting. 20 years ago, when I was first really trying writing, I had NONE.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,767 Posts
I like to intercut within a chapter when all the elements converge - jumping between concurrent action. My current work called for a strict 3rd Person protagonist POV (limited), the first time I'm writing in protagonist-only POV, which calls for single threading. It's tough, and tougher than 1st person POV, and the work is the first book of a trilogy ad at 600 pages for Volume one, I am learning and employing dozens of new techniques to engage the reader with a variety of structures which approximate the same tonalities as the forbidden fruit (switching to another characters POV - not head hopping, but varied scenic POV's all 3rd person limited - and the ever popular 2nd person elegaic POV). One technique I tried was parenthetic narration, which allowed me to maintain my paraochial key signature POV for the piece and sweep tnagential material into the reader's pervue via the protagonist's mental roving. It's work, but it satisfied when its successfully brought off. It's like cheating on a diet and still losing the weight.  ;D

Edward C. Patterson
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,469 Posts
Edward C. Patterson said:
I like to intercut within a chapter when all the elements converge - jumping between concurrent action. My current work called for a strict 3rd Person protagonist POV (limited), the first time I'm writing in protagonist-only POV, which calls for single threading. It's tough, and toucher than 1st person POV, and the work is the first book of a trilogy ad at 600 pages for Volume one, I am learning and employing dozens of new techniques to engage the reader with a variety of structures which approximate the same tonalities as the forbidden fruit (switching to another characters POV - not head hopping, but varied scenic POV's all 3rd person limited - and the ever popular 2nd person elegaic POV). One technique I tried was parenthetic narration, which allowed me to maintain my paraochial key signature POV for the piece and sweep tnagential material into the reader's pervue via the protagonist's mental roving. It's work, but it satisfied when its successfully brought off. It's like cheating on a diet and still losing the weight. ;D

Edward C. Patterson
Two comments:

1. Your skills are way, way above mine.
2. I'm very concerned that I actually understood this post. Perhaps I need to get out more! ;D
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top