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A nonlinear narrative in storytelling can be the key to helping you discover the past and present of characters as well as having your spec stand out. But how?


Telling a story that’s a straight line is hard enough, but how can you tell a story whose time frame jumps around? How can you keep an audience on track, flesh out the beats, and even track the theme?



We call these kinds of screenplays nonlinear, and they exist in both movies and television.



Today we’re going to go over nonlinear storytelling. We’ll look at examples, the definition, and talk about using them in a writing strategy moving forward.



As tempted as I am to present this information out of order…I won’t.



Let’s dive in.




What is a Nonlinear Narrative?



Nonlinear Narrative Definition


This is a narrative technique where events are portrayed out of chronological order or the logical order presented in the story. The pattern of events needs to jump around and not follow a linear pattern.



A nonlinear narrative can also be known as a disjointed narrative or disrupted narrative.



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Source: No Film School