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View Full Version : Unconventional Plot Organizing



Kiyohime
24th January 2006, 6:29 AM
What do you guys think of unconventional plot presentation? I'm casting out for other people's opinions and their own experiences, as I'm trying out a unusual way of doing Aeon.

Generally, plots are linear, and go from Point A to Point B to Point C. It's all nice and orderly, with a few visits to point Z by using flashbacks.

But to fit in with Aeon's theme, which encompasses a vast time span, from Time Zero to the ends of time, I decided to NOT do my plot in a chronological way, as I don't want the plot to lag in places where I'm not as interested in writing. (anyone remember the Thunderclap badlands scene from Sin? Ugh. XP)

Basically, the story actually starts with the ending of Aeon, then skips backwards and forwards in time in such a way that everything's happening at the same time, but I've kept careful notes and worked out a system so people will never get too confused or lost. There's no linear path, as it's showing readers important scenes from my main character's vast lifespan, and it all falls into place scene after scene. I don't feel motivated to write every detail that happens in an aeon, which is really flipping long and tedious.

My plot would go something like this:

Point X to point U tov point C to point F to point J to point K.....you get the drift. XD

Do you think this can be pulled off effectively? Have you ever seen it done before? Have you done this yourselves before? I'd love to hear your feedback. ^^;

CHeSHiRe-CaT
24th January 2006, 6:36 AM
Er...I find it rather confuzzling @.@

Well, I've never heard of it, that's for sure. If you think you can pull it off, that's great. Just beware that you don't want to lose readers along the way, and make sure you do a thorough job detailing the points in time with context clues or just stating their respective dates (I think you did this in the preview, no?).

Kiyohime
24th January 2006, 6:39 AM
Yes, I will state the dates. The scenes will all sort of be connected, though noy very clearly. Not all chapters wll be utterly in separate time periods, I'm generalizing the whole fic. All chapters are connected in some way or another...for example, in chapter X a character refers to some bygone event, and in chapter Y that entire chapter IS the "bygone" event.

CHeSHiRe-CaT
24th January 2006, 6:42 AM
Aye, then yer method be gewd enuffs fer moi 8D I've rarely seen it done, but it gives you a sort of "WOMG, REALIZATION!" feeling, and makes you get tingles all over when you fit puzzle pieces togedder X3

Quackerdrill
24th January 2006, 6:49 AM
That sounds utterly BRILLIANT, if I do say so myself. I would definitely like to see that kind of original thinking pop up in every fic... Yes, this would increase interest in the plot, and I don't think that if performed well readers will get too sidetracked. And it would compliment your style extremely well.

I have indeed tried something like this before, though never posted it here... It used every chapter for a certain plot event that, to the normal person, would have had nothing to do with the others, but upon closer scrutiny tied up many loose ties between them all. It was reaaaallly plagued with plotholes, though... so it was canned. Er, not that I wish to jynx anything right now. >_<

I've probably said too much. XD *slides off*

Kiyohime
24th January 2006, 6:52 AM
Was it that Tangela fic posted a long time ago? XD

It better make sense after the crapload of work I've put into it--even inventing up a totally new language. XD So I'll make sure it doesn't confuse readers.

Quackerdrill
24th January 2006, 7:10 AM
Was it that Tangela fic posted a long time ago? XDNah, it was something else. But a lot of the same concepts went into that one, minus the compiling plot. Yay!

A completely new language? That's awesome. Looks like I may just have to read this. ^_^

Kiyohime
24th January 2006, 7:12 AM
More of a cypher, actually. That's another weird thing I'm doing, it's a universal Pokemon language called Babel. It's actually a code, a cypher, same thing-- and it's up to the reader to solve the code, which reveals some major stuff about the plot. XP Man, I've got a lot of time on my hands. XD

Seijiro Mafuné
24th January 2006, 12:17 PM
Something similar I've seen. Basically, the main character - who's dead - starts the story from around the time he dies, then to his birth, then you spend the next two hundred chapters trying to figure out what is going on because you're on a temporal dishwasher.

RaZoR LeAf
24th January 2006, 12:52 PM
I've seen a fic done with each chapter starting with a date, but then each chapter being a different date as several character's stories are portrayed through individual chapters. For instance it would start with the first character's story in 1980, then the 2nd's in 1999, then the 3rd's in 1962, then back to the firsts, then the 4th's in 2001, etc. It worked well when you took notice of the dates.

Shadowcat
24th January 2006, 12:57 PM
I was planning one Scrap, you ruined my moment... Nah, just kidding...

Yeah, the idea's nice... It's the truth...

The Big Al
24th January 2006, 1:41 PM
Well, the last episode of the fourth season of Babylon 5 had a very similar plot. Sol is about to go nova and last human to evacuate is going over the records. He watched several important events before sending it to the new earth and leaving himself. You could have something like that.

Dragonfree
24th January 2006, 4:56 PM
I love this kind of thing; it leaves the reader to do more of the thinking, having a little jigzaw puzzle in their minds that they have to try to put together right on their own. Just make sure the reader can NOT figure it all out until the end of the story unless they really look deeper. The confusion and pondering is what makes this order of events fun to read. Go with it, definitely, if you think you can pull it off.

Kiyohime
24th January 2006, 8:19 PM
Wow, that's all great to hear, guys. o.o;; And don't worry, Mafune, it isn't a dishwasher. XD More of a toaster. D:

Saffire Persian
24th January 2006, 11:35 PM
Hmm, I've seen this technique used in various works before, to varying degrees, and this is a type of technique that I think either works really well, or it doesn't. I think it's a good idea if you feel you can pull it off, and I think it would lend a nice feel to the story. The only problem I could think of it the fact that it might confuse the readers due to all the jumping around. Hopefully, that won't be the case.

I look forward to reading it. ^_^ Good luck.

Oh, why is this more of a toaster? =p

Act
25th January 2006, 1:00 AM
I don't think it's unconventional at all-- I just don't think you really see it in pokemon fanfiction too much >.<

It can either be really good or horrifically confusing, but I do trust you, Scrap. The main thing that I think would be difficult to do is to make sure that, when writing chronologically 'earlier' scenes, don't let the characters know the future. It sounds stupid, but dropping hints about the chronological future of the fic when in reality it would be difficult for the character to know about is something that's tricky, especially when trying to forshadow.

Good luck, though.

Negrek
25th January 2006, 3:10 AM
Yes, my favorite book, Hexwood uses this device to great effect. It's not so unconventional, but it's something rarely tackled in 'fic.

I'm sure you can pull it off. People have already said pretty much what I had been. Make sure that you don't flub up and reveal things through flashbacks, make sure that you give them at least some coherence, etc. Good luck.

not_awake
27th January 2006, 9:18 AM
Perhaps you've seen Momento? It's an excellent movie in which the events are chronologically skewed. It reveals the story of a man with no short term memory and his investigations to find his wife's murderer. It's definitely worth investigating before you begin, but be warned it's rated R.

I believe, though it's been a while since I read it, Catch-22 does something similar and is also worthy of a read (even if it weren't relevant to this). Through out it certain instances are referenced and repeated before it's finally revealed how everything fits together. Oooh, and Slaughter House 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (despite the title it's quite tame) has one character that has "fallen out of time" and seems dead on for something you might want to read as reference.

Kiyohime
28th January 2006, 2:48 AM
Slaughter House 5 is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. I instantly love you. :D

I haven't seen Memento, but that reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another fantastic movie.

not_awake
28th January 2006, 4:03 AM
I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; it was the first dvd I ever bought for myself. If you enjoyed it and Slaughter House 5 then Momento will be a treat for you.

With all this excellent reference and some practice I think you could pull off a great fic with a non-linear plot.

Kiyohime
28th January 2006, 4:08 AM
I'm grateful for your suggestions; I'll be sure to rent Memento as soon as possible. ^^