Moving Your Story Forward. Or Backwards.
There is more than one way to write a story. Authors use different writing techniques to portray their stories. Some stories are linear, some start with the ending, called foreshadowing, and others move backwards and forward in time.
In my debut novel, The Decision They Made, which has historical elements, I used the storytelling method of going backward and forward in time. Some chapters are set in the 1980s while others are set during WWII. When I received a review on #goodreads that the reader found the "going back and forth jarring", I realised how different we all are in how we read books and absorb stories. For me, this type of storytelling makes the story more compelling and I know I will write other historical stories utilising this method.
Many television shows and movies use the switching-time method as well. Firefly Lane, which is on #netflix uses the method of moving back and forth through time. The past episodes show two teenage friends navigating school and life at fourteen years old; then it shows the two friends negotiating their university years and late 20s. The present has them in their 40s, and there are some episodes with glimpses of the future. I found watching this show intriguing, but my husband wasn't too keen on how it was filmed. He found that there were too many timelines to keep his interest. Me, well I'm keen on watching season two.
In my science fiction short story, Xenure Station: A Billion Light Years, I used the traditional type of storytelling, that of a linear story. I have used the same method in my other two short stories, The Studio and The Shop on the Princes Highway.
We are all different in what we enjoy in a story.
How the story is written can influence whether we keep reading to the end.
Writers have as many varied ways of writing as actors have ways of acting. This is what makes their storytelling unique. You may have heard of terms like method writing, alliteration, personification, and onomatopoeia. These are all tools an author will use to make their story come to life. The aim to have a story full of twists, turns, drama and ultimately to engage the reader and keep them reading to the end.
To further explain the techniques I mention, an author may use these methods on their own or in combination. With method writing, the author embodies the character and lives that life. The author can immerse themselves in the character's personality to bring that character to life.
Alliteration uses the sound of the first word to link to the second. Not sure what I mean? Well, think about a word and then a sound that can describe the word. For example, 'The sun warmed the sea.' We all know what the sun does, but using alliteration explains what it does.
Personification is giving human traits to non-human objects. For instance, an author may write - 'My pillow sighed as I lay down my head.' This explains the air being pushed from the pillow as the head lays on it. This is one of my favourite methods when I write.
Onomatopoeia is the method of using words to represent sound. This is used frequently in comics. Think comics like Batman where the words 'Whack', 'Bash' and 'Kapow' are used to show fighting and brawls. Onomatopoeia can be used in novel writing as well using words like 'thud', 'beep', and 'shrill'.
Experimental writers may not use a method in their writing, or any of the methods I have mentioned. But, many authors research these methods and use them to write their stories. If it helps to write a better story that readers will find more interesting, then there is a reason these methods exist.
Maria P Frino