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Subject:Conjugating verbs in the past ARGH tense
Time:09:41 pm
Curse you, [personal profile] premchaia! You just had to mention that the verbs in the double-flashback in chapter 2 of my novel (that is, the part where the first-person narrator is in a scene that is a flashback, and then in that scene thinks back on events that had happened even earlier) were off and were confusing as a result, and of course I have to fix it because that's my job as an author and all, but good lord this is hard. Now I have to figure out dependent clauses with the past perfect tense and I'm not 100% sure those are even the right terms for either!

"Every time I had started to calm down, I looked around and saw (deceased character) wasn't there, and then cried again."

Every time I had started to calm down, I had looked around and seen? I would look around and see...?

RARRRGH DOUBLE FLASHBACKS ARE HARD

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from http://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/334481.html.
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sigilgoat
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Time:2013-04-04 04:26 am (UTC)
can you show instead of tell here? like instead of the character describing the flashback, the audience sees it?
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kjorteo
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Time:2013-04-04 11:42 am (UTC)
I totally forgot you read this journal. :O HI SIGIL

Anyway, I can, but working on this novel has taught me that the "always show, never tell" rule is not a universal constant. It's a nine-times-out-of-ten constant, sure, but there is that tenth time! There are actually quite a few perfectly good flashback scenes I had to cut and replace with a one-paragraph "then I did this" summation because of pacing; I was just giving too much screen time and too much importance to back-story details that honestly shouldn't have been that prominent in the first place.

In this case, the scene sort of starts in medias res at a funeral, and then spends about four or five paragraphs to go back real quick and run through the morning the narrator had found out this character had died. Excising the morning and turning it into its own scene is overkill in its current form because it's just such a short summation of things, and expanding it would be counterproductive to that whole get to the point sense which serves to counterbalance the show everything always one. Especially because even the funeral itself is something the reader already saw in the last chapter anyway (hence the recollection-within-a-flashback verb weirdness); this is sort of a miniature Rashomon effect where I'm revisiting the same scene with a different narrator to fill in a few "what's that guy's deal anyway" holes that weren't answered last time.
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sigilgoat
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Time:2013-04-04 02:21 pm (UTC)
I believe you!!! It's something i have to remind myself when i get into exposition, but this is also comics too, haha
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[icon] Conjugating verbs in the past ARGH tense - A Kjorteo draws near!
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