Writing Excuses 12.49 – Nonlinear Stories – Reflection

Episode Rating: šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ

Humor: šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ

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This week’s episode about nonlinear storytelling was intriguing thanks to the way the episode plays out (which is really more enjoyable for fans who are familiar with the the show), but then also in all the examples they used to talk about nonlinear approaches to storytelling.

I think nonlinear stories are by very nature different because so much of our memories and the way we tell stories in the moment mirror the linear fashion in which they happened. But I was impressed at the various examples they use during the show. The only one nonlinear story common enough to get its own category was the flashback, but the other examples were good in helping to flesh out the thought space of the episode.

I will say that for me, nonlinear stories have been a lot of fun. The ones I remember most are the ones where a story plays out multiple times, each from a different character’s view point. This has started to become a more common TV episode trope that I see being used more and more frequently. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets it own name soon like flashback. Maybe it already has and I just don’t know about it.

The other exmaple that I don’t think got discussed was the flashforward. The one I am thinking of is the TV show Dollhouse. No spoilers, but there is a moment in the first season where we flashforward in the story to a future date. The technology used in the show has been abused making for a future that is very different than then original story. In that show, I think the flashforward actually did help to frame the story that the regular show better.

Finally reflections: I don’t know that I personally will be doing anything nonlinear above and beyond the occasional flashback, but it was a good topic to consider to get me thinking of ways to use a different tool.

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