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My true story is out of order

aerosick

I have had over the years many of my family and friends (old and new) that requested me to write about my years working as an Electric Lineman. So I did.

http://storiesonline.net/s/13369/my-life-with-a-linemans-ticket

But where I went wrong was starting about 1/3 of the way through as it contained info that a lot of them had asked about. But then I got many requests to start from the beginning. I did but it's Chapter 2.

Well, now it looks like Chapter 1 should have been about Chapter 10 or so. When I get that far, should I:

1. Just refer the readers back to Chapter 1?

2. Try to flesh out Chapter 1 and re-post it as Chapter 10 or so when I get to that place in my life story?

3. Just skip over that period of my life?

I would also be letting the readers know what I do and why when I reach that far.

Any ideas will be appreciated.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

You've got a couple potential solutions. If you want it in chronological order, then simply switch the chapters and ensure the transitions work. Otherwise, treat the earlier segment as a flashback, rather than a separate chapter. That way, it can occur in any order, it's simply additional information about the character (you).

I just reordered the first four chapters of a story because I didn't like how the story began. So I wouldn't confuse anyone, I waited until the story reached chapter 5, reposted the earlier chapters, and posted an announcement about the changes. The story ratings went up after that (though that might have been because the story got more interesting in chapter 5).

Switch Blayde

I'm not a fan of it, but you can jump back and forth in time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm not a fan of it, but you can jump back and forth in time.

It's not real easy to carry off. Typically, it's mainly done in 1st person, where the character reflects on what's happened to him, so the flashback is limited in scope. Often, the flashback will change tense, either present to past, or past to past perfect, to denote the time change. You only need to maintain that for a couple paragraphs, but when you switch back, you need to do it again to signify the transition.

For 3rd person omni stories, it seems the (local) consensus is to use full chapters or chapter segments, either listing dates, times or having the narrator explain that it happens in the past.

Doing it as a block like that is probably easier for less experienced authors, as this is a difficult process to do well.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

One method perhaps would be to have a third party (someone connected to the mc) tell a story about one of more events in MC's past. It can help if the MC gets embarrassed by it. If the MC tells about it, its a form of bragging and no one likes that type of person.

richardshagrin

SOL is a sexy site. No problem with flashing. Either the back or front.

If it might squick someone (be a reason not to want to read the story) or be a special attraction to others perhaps you could investigate with Management (Lazeez) if a tag could be developed for flashing in any direction you want.

REP

@aerosick

I have been reading this story Aerosick, since you first posted it. It's not my usual type of story, but so far not bad.

While it sounds as if you wrote yourself into a corner, there may be a couple of ways to handle the situation. The best solution in my opinion is to repeat the content in a very abbreviated fashion. Something along the line of:

As I said earlier, after leaving 'X' I roamed around doing 'Y'. Doing 'Y' was what found me my teaching job at the Junior College. (short reminiscence about going to Winterset for big job and the encounter with Walt and new Grunt.) From there just transition into the next chapter's text.

Good luck on whatever you choose to do.

REP

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@REP

Thanks REP, I will get it worked out I think...

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@aerosick

Try different methods. Read the results each time as a reader not as a writer. Decide which method actually works best in the situation based on the reading test. From what I have seen in the forums no one method will work in all stories or situations so its a judgement call. That is why I suggest reading the results each time.

Its like I have found in my own life. Every time I learn one thing I find there is a lot more to learn. its what makes life really interesting as the learning process is never ending.

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@docholladay

Thanks! It all helps me as a pretty new struggling writer. Being 75 years old this year ain't helping either!!!

:-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@aerosick


Thanks! It all helps me as a pretty new struggling writer. Being 75 years old this year ain't helping either!!!


If you're feeling nervous/unprepared for the challenge, you may want to consider putting the story into chronological order and reposting it. Your reader's won't see the changes, but many fans will reread earlier chapters, especially if it takes a while between posts. If nothing else, it makes for a decent fallback position.

P.S. Most of the techniques are more common in fiction, rather than autobiographies, so you wouldn't be expected to grasp it right away.

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@Crumbly Writer

If you're feeling nervous/unprepared for the challenge, you may want to consider putting the story into chronological order and reposting it. Your reader's won't see the changes, but many fans will reread earlier chapters, especially if it takes a while between posts. If nothing else, it makes for a decent fallback position.


Thanks, I have a few more Chapters before I reach the start of Chapter 1. I may just try to get it right and repost it. What happens to the original Story when I repost it again? Is this taken care of or do I manually delete it?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@aerosick

What happens to the original Story when I repost it again? Is this taken care of or do I manually delete it?

There's no need to delete stories, in fact I wouldn't recommend deleting and reposting stories, as you're more likely to lose readers rather than gaining rating points.

When you repost chapters, they're updated. It won't flag the chapters as new, but they'll be there for anyone who rereads them. You can alert fans about changes, but most readers won't go back, while loyal fans will often reread stories multiple times. In short, you'll reach some but not all readers by reposting chapters. However, since many readers only read completed stories, they'll see the complete story, rather than the evolving story.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Or he can post it as a rewrite of the story using the wording "Version 2" or something. That way the fans can recognize both versions and the changes will not offend them. Of course we all know there is no pleasing everyone regardless of the methods or skills involved.

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@docholladay

Or he can post it as a rewrite of the story using the wording "Version 2" or something.


Thanks! The more info the better!

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@aerosick

I admit that I am strange. I enjoy seeing the improvements of the writers I enjoy. At the same time I try and never harm one who I don't enjoy reading either. I have a funny rule "Do no harm to those who don't deserve it" or something to that effect. Its hard to put personal codes of conduct and ethics into words. Yet those individual codes are always obeyed.

aerosick
Updated:

I will put this at the bottom of Chapter 8 and at the top of Chapter 9:

A friend asked me for my details of a certain period which made up Chapter 1. Then others said "Wait a minute! Start from the beginning!" The beginning started in Chapter 2. This Chapter 9 will take off (and fill in) from my work in Chapter 1 on the 345,000 volt steel tower electric transmission line (345 kV) line being built from Winterset, IA to Omaha, NE. I hope I don't upset my Readers, but I kind of painted myself into a corner and I'm trying to get out clean. Sorry!!!

How does this look to you???

docholladay

@aerosick

Make it where the past events are told in a short story format by either a friend or family member. That way it will not look like the MC is bragging and if desired you can use his emotional reactions to highlight it.

Crumbly Writer

@aerosick

How does this look to you???

I wouldn't put it in the document, as then it's disruptive to new readers (and the majority of readers will read it long after you've finished posting). Instead, I'd put it in your blog. Face it, the majority of readers will only read your story once, and won't really care about minor (non-plot centric) changes. You need to focus on them first. By posting the changes or details to the blog, then those who are interested can follow your progress and provide feedback about it.

Another alternative, when you submit the chapter, as the Administrator in the submission process to post it as chapter 1A or 1.5 (if they can). That will flag it as a new chapter, but get it into the correct numeric sequence without disturbing the flow of the story.

@DocHoliday

Or he can post it as a rewrite of the story using the wording "Version 2" or something.

The reason why I advise against deleting and reposting a story, is that the majority of readers are impatient. They don't care about works "in progress", they simply want to read something. If they read a story, then start a new story, only to discover it's the old one, reworked, they're likely to abandon you as an author, and never come back.

The number of readers who want to see both versions is incredibly small, so reposting a new version (as a separate story) will disappoint more readers than it was please. It's a no-win situation!

Aerosick, another alternative is to post it as a separate short story. Simply write a one chapter story about that one even in your life, create a universe incorporating both stories, and let the earlier events stand on their own. That way, you'll always know how readers reacted to the new chapters, rather than guessing based on score variations at the time of posting.

Replies:   docholladay
richardshagrin

Out of order is another way of saying broken. "The pay phone is out of order". Your story contains flashbacks or flash forwards. You can eliminate them if you wish and put the events in a different order. But the story is not "out of order".

Replies:   aerosick
Daydreamz
Updated:

@aerosick


I will put this at the bottom of Chapter 8 and at the top of Chapter 9:


Personally I would reorganise the whole story in one straightforward timeline. I hate flashbacks, they're so often disruptive and an obvious fix.

I'd write the new earlier chapters offline, then when you're ready Re-Post the whole story in its natural sequence. I wouldn't apologise too much, your readers should be grateful :)

You can do a blog post or two as CW says, to explain what you're doing, and maybe an End Note while the online version is on hiatus.

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

The number of readers who want to see both versions is incredibly small, so reposting a new version (as a separate story) will disappoint more readers than it was please. It's a no-win situation!


That is why the title has to be basically the same with an indication in the title of being a revised version or rewritten version. Leave the original available as posted so people will not feel cheated or whatever. Just name the second version the same with an indicator as to the fact of it being a changed version.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
aerosick

@richardshagrin

I wouldn't put it in the document, as then it's disruptive to new readers (and the majority of readers will read it long after you've finished posting). Instead, I'd put it in your blog.


This is pretty much how I will handle it. Thanks!

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Leave the original available as posted so people will not feel cheated or whatever.

Leaving two different versions of the same story means your votes & download scores will be split between two different stories. Not a deal breaker, but you need to be aware of the effect on your final results.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Understandable. Then again like I have said in the past in many of the forum discussions. No one method will work in any given problem. It seems to be a judgement call and then its a matter of luck as to how it will go over with both the readers and the critics.
That is what is great here. Each of you as well as even readers (like me) can come up with different ideas and techniques. The final choice is always up to the individual writer/storyteller as to which one they will use.
Even the failures lead to discussions as to what could have prevented the problems. Always something new to be learned thankfully.

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