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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:22 pm    Post subject: transition to memory  

So I'm working on a transition in a story and I could use some input on it. The way the scene sets up the main character thinking his thoughts and doing his thing. When something jogs a memory for him, and then the scene shifts into that memory as if it were happening right then and there.

The transition itself seems a little abrupt at best and poorly done at worst and I was wondering if anyone had a better idea out there on how to handle it.

What I am NOT wanting to do....
1) I don't want to put the whole thing in bold or italics or underlined.
2.) Changing the font color. Though it is the most straightforward application its not something I want to do.
3.) I don't want to just center it, not that you can center things here in the City.

So I will try to give an example of whats happening in the story through a made up sentence.



"Blah blah blah blah. Bob looked at the picture in his hand and it reminded him of the day he flew a kite.

The kite fluttered above him, as the wind pushed it upward. Blah blah blah blah"



Anyways, its not a good example but it kind of shows what I'm getting at.
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Shillelagh



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:03 pm    Post subject:  

Well, I think the most obvious distinguishing method would be some sort of visual cue. I can understand why you wouldn't want to bold/italics it, but you can't deny that it would be effective. Other possible methods:

-Surround the paragraph with an obscure symbol, like tildas or perhaps brackets.
-Change the size of the font.
-Change the font type (Can that be done here?)
-Use a 'code' or a 'quote' box to frame the text.
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Vikas Muralidharan



Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 600

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: transition to memory  

Emperor wrote:
"Blah blah blah blah. Bob looked at the picture in his hand and it reminded him of the day he flew a kite.

The kite fluttered above him, as the wind pushed it upward. Blah blah blah blah"


Could be this:

"Blah blah blah blah. Bob looked at the picture in his hand and it reminded him of the day he flew a kite.
_________________

The kite fluttered above him, as the wind pushed it upward. Blah blah blah blah"
__________________
"Blah Blah Blah. The sudden noise brought Bob back to the present.."

Something like that, perhaps?
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:09 pm    Post subject:  

Shillelagh wrote: Well, I think the most obvious distinguishing method would be some sort of visual cue. I can understand why you wouldn't want to bold/italics it, but you can't deny that it would be effective. Other possible methods:

-Surround the paragraph with an obscure symbol, like tildas or perhaps brackets.
-Change the size of the font.
-Change the font type (Can that be done here?)
-Use a 'code' or a 'quote' box to frame the text.

While all of these are GREAT examples of how to do it in an online forum. I'm still looking for that elusive way to sew it into the narrative using words, as the above does not translate well into a manuscript.
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
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Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: transition to memory  

Vikas Muralidharan wrote:

Could be this:


"Blah Blah Blah. The sudden noise brought Bob back to the present.."

Something like that, perhaps?

I'm actually looking for the transition into the memory, not out, but I will need that also.
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Shillelagh



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:43 pm    Post subject:  

Well, I would argue that change the font type, at least, would actually be a very effective method of marking a shift on paper, depending on how major you want these transitons to be. But that's neither here nor there.

I missed the part where you wanted these to be textual transitions, not visual separations. Honestly, I would just put an extra line of space between the two sections, like you would normally see in scene shifts. Then it doesn't really matter how you phrase it, because the detached paragraphs let the reader know that there's a seperation from the previous, somehow. As long as you phrase it right, they'll know it's 'flashback', not 'meanwhile'.

The only other thing I can think of is using the train of thought as a bridge:
Blah blah blah while the kite was red, with sticks poking out of the edges. All it needed was a string of ribbons, and it would look exactly like the one from his childhood.
His kite flew high in the sky, the ribbons dancing in the breeze. He looked around and blah blah blah.
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Muaddib



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:08 am    Post subject:  

Changing to italics is the one I've seen used most often in books.
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:41 am    Post subject:  

I think Biohazard, in Control (Dark Horror Section) may have an interesting few examples of some good ways to go about this.

He uses [ list] to indent, which in a text editor would be a matter of simply adjusting the margin temporarily - not sure how functional that would be for publishing though.

As for the verbage upon transition, I'm not sure how to encapsulate any advice into an explanation there. It's kinda an artistic detail. But from what I've read on such transitions, it's important to be clear with it so that the reader is not lost in what the author is intending.

A character could be speaking to another, "Yeah, Jim, that reminds me of a time..."

Leave the ellipse and head into slightly different formatting, then when we return to the normal formatting we have obviously returned to the normal narrative. This would be one of a hundred ways but the rule of thumb is clarity.
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:46 pm    Post subject:  

Shillelagh wrote: Well, I would argue that change the font type, at least, would actually be a very effective method

I know what you are getting and I have seen it too in novels and such. The only thing that concerns me about using it in a manuscript is that in general I was under the impression that you want to stay with the pre-approved formula as much as possible.

Shillelagh wrote: The only other thing I can think of is using the train of thought as a bridge:
Blah blah blah while the kite was red, with sticks poking out of the edges. All it needed was a string of ribbons, and it would look exactly like the one from his childhood.
His kite flew high in the sky, the ribbons dancing in the breeze. He looked around and blah blah blah.

I thought this was a great example and thank you.
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:47 pm    Post subject:  

Muaddib wrote: Changing to italics is the one I've seen used most often in books.

The only reason I'm not going with italics is the a confusion issue, in the scene I'm referring to I may be using the italics for something else and I don't want the readers getting confused.
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
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Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:50 pm    Post subject:  

Thunderbird wrote:
He uses [ list] to indent, which in a text editor would be a matter of simply adjusting the margin temporarily - not sure how functional that would be for publishing though.


I had not know you could do that in sg's, for some reason I was under the assumption that you could not indent, center, left-center or otherwise mess with things. Anyone have the specific technique for this as I am inept when it comes to the coding.
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject:  

Hmm... let me see...

This text should be indented naturally as a result of the list command. Another way to create an indent is to use a tab on each line where you've bracketed the tabbed region with [ code][/ code]. I of course put a space in there where it didn't belong so you'd read the text inside [] normally. And I'm mostly just coming up with enough text to give this a nice little test run of the list function.

You can simply quote this or edit it to see it in action.
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Muaddib



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject:  

What about leaving a line and having a sub heading such as

" 15 years ago, Prague: text text text "

But the memory text could be indented like TBird suggested.
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Lupaviola7



Joined: 24 Oct 2011
Posts: 10

Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject:  

I agree completely with Muaddib...thats exactly what I was going to say.
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
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Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:14 pm    Post subject:  

These are all great examples, I HOPEFULLY will try them soon in Symphony.
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:32 pm    Post subject:  

I hopefully will be enjoying seeing anything new added to Symphony soon ;)
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Lost Omega



Joined: 18 Dec 2010
Posts: 88
Location: West Haven, CT

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:52 pm    Post subject:  

I was thinking maybe you could have the current scene dissolve into a memory. For example:
"Bob studied the picture in his hand for a few minutes. When he looked up, he was no longer in his living room but in a vast field. He held a kite string in his hand. The string was taught as the kite flew through the air... (so on and so forth)"
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject:  

good suggestion omega, hopefully between them all I will be able to apply it to some degree.
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Crunchyfrog



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:12 am    Post subject:  

I think it depends on how close to the character's POV you want it to be. If it's that close that you want the reader to experience everything with the character, I'd suggest just keeping the text style exactly as it its. If it's written well enough, you'll be able to jolt the reader in and out of the flashback and evoke the same feelings in the reader as the character feels himself just by the way you choose your words.

But if you're doing it in more of a storytelling mode, then I think change in text would be better. I dunno, I'd probably go for italics if it were me.

HTH
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Vishal Muralidharan



Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 864
Location: City Of IF!

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:21 am    Post subject:  

I'm fully with both what Muaddib and TBird said... Both of them are really good ideas. Indenting the text is visual, and gives the idea that there is something about the text that's different from the rest of the chapter, but you'll have to be clear enough to make sure the readers know that the character is being reminded of an event in the past, whereas saying "15 years ago:" in italics would put the reader straight into the mood of the story.

Not to spark of a debate, just my views on the styles. I'd use both what Muaddib said because I indent text messages and e-mails that a character recieves, and I don't want flashbacks to have the same format.

BTW.

CF!!! :D Welcome Back!! Nice to see ya around here again! God, we've missed you. Frankly, I read through this post only because I saw your name on the "Last Post" column. :cool: Great to have you back!
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Vikas Muralidharan



Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 600

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:04 am    Post subject:  

Firstly, Emperor.

I've given you suggestions for both in AND out considering you will need transition out as well :)

And yes, Great to see you post again Crunchy!! Welcome Back!! :D
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject:  

Crunchyfrog wrote: I think it depends on how close to the character's POV you want it to be. If it's that close that you want the reader to experience everything with the character, I'd suggest just keeping the text style exactly as it its. If it's written well enough, you'll be able to jolt the reader in and out of the flashback and evoke the same feelings in the reader as the character feels himself just by the way you choose your words.

But if you're doing it in more of a storytelling mode, then I think change in text would be better. I dunno, I'd probably go for italics if it were me.

HTH

In keeping with the tone I have established with Symphony I want to keep it close to the POV aspect. I just hope I write it well enough as you have suggested. Thanks for the input Crunchy-girl
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:32 pm    Post subject:  

Then again, a subtle way of doing it would be to simply change the narrative style. That is, in your first paragraph you are carrying on with your usual style, then to mark the transition, you simply add a space

like this, and you begin a different pattern of sentence styling because after all a memory is a different kind of thought which is a different kind of brain pattern... its usually marked by fragmentation so that you could play with it and make really long run on sentences and suddenly... break.

Well, that's probably not a great example, but the point is to be creative and to find an appropriate blend between form and content.
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