Wednesday, October 10, 2012

non-linear plot imbedded in linear plot: not intending to confuse the reader

As I have mentioned before, I am working on a revision of the first novel in my Students of Jump. One of the changes I am making is running the two timelines (1979 & 2275) adjacent to each other. I am in the middle of a decision.  Should both run chronologically or should one (the 1979 timeline) run chronological, while the future timeline runs non-linear, different scenes appearing based on a commonality.  I like how a feature in common brings in a future event that the earlier time event is a result of.  At the same time, I worry about my reader getting confused because the events in the future do not run consecutively.  Maybe I can explain it like this:

Basic linear plot: Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, gets girl, looses girl, gets girl back, they live happily ever after. (Let this be the chronological 1979 timeline.)

Non-linear plot:  Boy loses car keys, Boy needs to take car downtown, Boy cartwheels over sleeping dog, boy grabs keys off counter, boy must find another way to get to town, boy buys new car, Boy needs new pair of pants.  (non-consecutive 2275 and happens both in the future and before the 1979 events would occur.)

With one linear and one non-linear, they might look like this.

Boy loses car keys,  Boy meets girl, boy needs to take car downtown, boy falls for girl, boy cartwheels over sleeping dog, boy gets girl, boy grabs keys off counter, boy loses girl , boy must find another way to get to town, boy gets girl back, boy buys new car, they live happily ever after, boy needs new pair of pants.

In order to get the girl, the boy must need a pair of pants and must lose his keys, but these events do not occur in the same time period. One entirely precedes the other.

Is this confusing?  Would it make for a confusing novel?  You see my dilemma.  I won't know the answer until I put it completely together.  Revise that, it is currently in this form.  It is me that is confused.

Also note, these are not the actual plots of my novel.  Hmmm.


katherineamabel said...

Hi there, thanks for following my blog (Beyond The Hourglass Bridge) and sorry I'm only just getting a chance to have a good look around yours. I'm nominating you for a blog award - I'll have details on mine soon. :)

L. Darby Gibbs said...

Thank you, Katherine, for dropping by. I'm with you on Tale of Two Cities, one of my top favorites. I must have read it forty times. I'll check further on those details you mentioned. The Liebster, huh?