Crime: Linear and Non-linear Narrative

While writing extracts of Horror, Crime, Sci-fi and Fantasy, I thought about whether I had found a new genre I could use in a new novel. Besides fantasy, I felt crime might be my next strongest style after fantasy writing, so I started dabbling and free writing. 

I felt myself go into police crime writing and soon remembered that I had begun planning, and free writing, a crime-thriller novel telling a young girl’s story of neglect, love and betrayal as she finds herself entrapped in a sex-trafficking ring. The novel moves between two simultaneous stories where we see the protagonist’s past and present life and how this traumatic experience shaped both times in her life. 

The full synopsis is below:      

Imogen’s Dark Secret Synopsis: 

Knowing that to make these simultaneous plot-lines the most impactful, for the novel to be a success, I started to play with a non-linear narrative. I fretted about how effective my non-linear writing would be, having always written linearly. But I knew Imogen’s Dark Secret was different to anything I had written before. Nonlinear would give me a challenge and allow me to effectively interpret the characters, moving back and forth, seeing what memories are brought to her present day experiences, while also demonstrating the contrasts in the mindset of my main protagonist. Telling the story in a non-linear narrative would really allow me to tap into my protagonist’s subconscious and allow her to tell me her story.    

Using the non-linear narrative, while writing, I found a number of components that needed to be considered while telling my character’s story. To help visualise the linear vs non-linear narrative of her story, I created a large storyboard with post-it-notes tacked on it, together with a scene prompt. I referred to this often while I wrote, to prompt me, but to also feed my protagonist and in turn she would tell me what happened to her, then I would change my storyboard around like a giant jigsaw, which proved to be very helpful.

In pursuing the novel further, I hope to show both of my protagonist’s character growth in her past and present, leading to the arc of the protagonist’s life and journey. I am enthusiastic about the non-linear narrative approach and I’m excited to see what becomes of it.

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