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Non-Linear Narrative

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Kira Smith

on 11 April 2011

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Transcript of Non-Linear Narrative

Non-Linear Narrative Story Within a Story Where the events are not told in chronological order Story told during the action
of another story Types:
1. The inner story is completely
in the real world and can be told
seperately (ie. Pyramus and
2. Only fragements exsist in the
real world (Captin Proton)
3. None of it exsists in the real
world They can be told for
entertainment but
usually serve a
purpose Inner story usually reveals some sort of truth or message about the outer message The Itchy and Scratchy Show: Comment on the levels of violence and acceptable behaviour in the media May disclose some background
information, tell myths or influence/diverson from the plot They are more or less a supplementry story used to help the outer story Why use non-linear narrative? Provides an unique form of exposition where the audience must piece the story together as best they can with the information given Frees you from the boring laws of time progression Mimics someone recalling a story from memory, usually not a clear concise story line Where is it used? Pretty much...everywhere The flash back is of course a much used literary convention to give plot background outside the events of the story Keeps things interesting Linear Narratives have been used for a loooong time: Popular in films and tv: The movies Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Pulp Fiction, and Fight Club are some good examples It has been used in plays dating back to Shakespeare: Hamlet and Mid-Summer Night Dream Music Videos: Sabotage
by the Beastie Boys. May add further support or hints
to the theme/message Allows for further deepth Non-Linear Narrative in
popular books: Homer's Iliad and Odessy, James Joyce's Novels, Wuthering Heights, Catch 22, Mahabharata (Indian Epic) How to use it effectively Don't use it simply because you think it would be fun. Pick the narrative technique that best suits your story and writing. Make sure the break in the
linear sequence relates to the
plot in some way shape or form
(so no random stories) You will have to eventually put everything into context. Your reader/audience should be understand the course of events by the end of your story. You need to make a smooth transition from the outer story to the inner story, and then vice versa Your reader may become more
engaged and try to guess what
is going on (Detective) Used in videogames too: multiple endings, exploration based plot development Use non-linear narrative as a means for deeper characterization or to help describe a complex event Things should be somewhat tied together by the overarcing theme So you want to write a non-linear narrative... It's a good idea to have a general idea of what your plot will be before you start messing with chronology. This helps you prevent confusing yourself during the writing process. EDIT. Your story will need close examination to make sure that the narrative does make some form of sense and there is context, at least by the end of the story Have others read it. Make sure they aren't confused at the ending of the play and your story still holds up in chopped up format. Story-within a Story Flashbacks Your flashback should follow a strong scene. This means that the flashback is never the first scene nor is it the second scene after a sketchy intro. The flashback must follow an action filled scene (where something happens) since it is old news. Tell the reader at the begining of the flashback that the time/place have changed. The transition must be clear or you will loose your reader! Use verb tense conventions to guide your reader in and out of the flashback. For example, if your story is being told in the past tense, then write the first few verbs of the flashback in the past perfect and the rest in simple past. When you're ready to end the flashback, revert to past perfect for the last few verbs. Then use past tense to resume story time. Disadvatage: The flashback
lacks immediacy. You should not make the contents of the flashback more interesting or longer than the real story. Use emotional transitions to shift the story to the past. Emotional transition means that the character is experiencing something that is triggering her flashback into the past. Use flashbacks to drive a plot twist
or to explain the background of your characters or your plot Writing Activity In your journal you will write a short non-linear narrative story beginning with the ending provided. A man wakes up in the hospital after a serious operation. The Surgeon informs him that he was being given skin grafts to treat burns of unknown origin on his body. The surgeon then reveals that he found a golden key in his body, and asks the patient what this key might mean to him, or how it got there?
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