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1,717 Views 10 Replies Last post: Jun 22, 2018 10:36 AM by Right RSS
Level 0 4 posts since
Oct 11, 2014
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Nov 14, 2017 7:21 AM

Timeline Question

I've been getting mixed feedback and wanted to put this out here for some good, constructive feedback.

 

It's a timeline question.  My fictional story takes place with a span of over 500 years where the man characters discover pieces of the past as the story goes along.  For clarification, I title each chapter with a location and year. 

 

 

 

Now, some who have read my book are having difficulty with the changes in time- something I only do with entire chapters, not jump in the middle.  Others have no issues following what happening.  It's about 50/50.  I’ve put out 2 of 7 books in the series so far.

 

 

 

Here’s the question:  Should I do a rewrite and make the story more linear or leave it as is and keep going?

 

 

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

 

Jon

Level 5 4,129 posts since
Oct 27, 2010
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1. Nov 14, 2017 7:32 AM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

Is there any reason for it to be non-linear? If so, then maybe you just need to be a bit more explicit about showing where and when the narrative is about to go. It is hard to gauge just how much hand-holding readers need. I think it is better to overestimate readers than to do the opposite.

Level 5 12,995 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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3. Nov 14, 2017 7:46 AM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

I have to believe you structured it as you did originally because it made for better storytelling. You can't please everyone, and there's no guarantee that a rewrite would satisfy a higher percentage of readers, so I wouldn't be too quick to change it.

 

Also, I'm wondering how you determined the "50/50." Was it from a solid sample of valid data (such as comments made in unsolicited reviews), or were you asking the question yourself (which might have skewed the results)?

 

Before doing a rewrite, I would seek the opinion of a professional editor with experience in this genre. You would be asking the editor for a developmental analysis, not an actual substantive or comprehensive edit (or even copyediting/proofreading) -- just a knowledgeable editor's assessment of whether or not you've chosen the best structure for telling the story based on your target market.

Level 5 4,129 posts since
Oct 27, 2010
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5. Nov 14, 2017 8:08 AM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

I understand what you are doing and I think I would like it.

Level 4 2,944 posts since
Feb 7, 2015
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6. Nov 14, 2017 10:06 AM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

Have you considered the possibility that the half who are confused by your novel have only half a brain and thus are confused by a lot of things? Nonlinear storytelling (or nonlinear narrative) is a time-honored technique used in scads of novels and movies, from Wuthering Heights to Reservoir Dogs. The folks who are confused by your story would probably be confused by Pulp Fiction as well. If you believe a nonlinear narrative best serves your novel then go for it and don't look back. The alternative is to dumb it down so that even the dimmest bulb can follow it without breaking a sweat. As Lighthouse24, a.k.a. Doug, said, you can't please everyone.

Level 0 14 posts since
Jul 2, 2015
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8. Dec 27, 2017 6:09 PM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

That is your own unique style.  It would require readers to really pay attention and I believe that it what makes it all the more better to go back and reread the book.  If we do it well with movies explain everything in weird ways sometimes, why not in books?  Perhaps you can add something towards the end like a legend explaining the timeline and what it leads to, to help the readers not get lost.

Level 0 2 posts since
Dec 5, 2014
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9. Jun 22, 2018 10:28 AM in response to: Prof_Jon
Re: Timeline Question

Timeline: Series of events

Level 0 2 posts since
Dec 5, 2014
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10. Jun 22, 2018 10:36 AM in response to: Right
Re: Timeline Question

Timeline: Four years ago, Julia wrote a book, the market plumet and the book went under. No sales! Her career was tarnished, not a best seller. She did not have promotional tools. She encouuntered financial difficulties whilst publishing her book. Copyright issues, risk of bankruptcy, threats and illegal sales. but here I am one year later, living the dream! This is a modern story!

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