February 24, 2021, 05:06:42 PM

Author Topic: "I remember, when..."  (Read 819 times)

Online ScarletBea

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"I remember, when..."
« on: November 17, 2020, 09:42:19 AM »
You all know I'm always complaining about my memory, and I wish that more books 2 and later had a short summary of what happened before.

However, what I really, really don't like is all the "I remember when..." that characters do!
It breaks the plot flow. Most of the times it doesn't fit the character's personality. And it's really annoying, especially when it's done multiple times, and not just at the start of the book.
In particularly clunky cases, it jolts the reader out of the character's point of view, is that what you mean by "author intrusion" (or something similar)?
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Offline Peat

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2020, 10:06:21 AM »
I can't really remember (ironically enough) seeing this, other than towards the end of WoT. It did feel clunky there though!
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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 10:16:11 AM »
It's only a small paragraph here and there, in the book 2 I'm reading now, but annoying. And you used the right word, 'clunky' - exactly!
Strange, really, because his other series (4 books) never really had this, it was great.

And I've seen it in other books too - guess I'm unluckier than you ;)
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Offline Peat

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 11:47:44 AM »
Any other books you recall seeing it in? I'm curious if you've seen it in some books where I've just driven right by it.
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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2020, 12:22:01 PM »
Not really, sorry... it's another one of those things that vanish in the depths of my memory, if I don't write them down right away ::)
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2020, 01:10:24 PM »
Jim Butcher does this all the time. Every time a character pops up who's been in a previous book, or there's an old plot point raised, or when he's just...dealing with a cliffhanger, Harry will conveniently have all these inner thoughts explaining who/what is going on. I mean at this point we're what - 16/17 books in? - just write a glossary!
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Offline isos81

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2020, 02:13:56 PM »
I'm not sure if it fits, but I think Shannara's start was similar. Not the same, but similarly "unbelievable".
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 07:29:06 AM »
Jim Butcher does this all the time. Every time a character pops up who's been in a previous book, or there's an old plot point raised, or when he's just...dealing with a cliffhanger, Harry will conveniently have all these inner thoughts explaining who/what is going on. I mean at this point we're what - 16/17 books in? - just write a glossary!

Yeah, if this happened it's definitely in the Dresden Files a lot, mainly as a way to remind us of what happened in the earlier books. I usually just skimmed by those sections myself.  :-X

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 08:19:41 AM »
I'd rather have a summary of previous events/characters at the start of a book that I can refer to if I need it and ignore if I don't. Shoe-horning information is always bad.

Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 02:27:42 PM »
Throwing my support between adding a 'previously on...' section at the start of books.

I don't mind a brief 'haven't seen you since...' because that's how people actually speak a lot of the time, but I can see how it would get annoying.

I think it's largely a product of the time scale involved in writing a book/series. It might only be a few days since you read the bit they're referring too, but for the author it could have been months or even years.
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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2020, 02:32:26 PM »
I've encountered this also in inner thoughts, not just a conversation.

For example:
M's father was killed in book 1, under suspicious circumstances.
In book 2 M meets one of the suspects. "M remembers well the day her dad was killed. How they had hunted amongst the forest, got separated, and suddenly she had turned around to see him lying on the ground, a short sword in his heart. She remembers thinking that she'd seen that sword before, when they visited C's castle etc etc" --> and all these things are almost a copy/paste from book 1's events ::)
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Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2020, 02:33:43 PM »
Oh dear. Unless it's been a few years between books, I don't think that much is necessary.
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Offline Cherie

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2020, 06:28:34 PM »
That's bad. For me, if it was an immediate emotional response to something, then fair enough. We all get those random reminders of things from time to time, so it wouldn't be that difficult to make it flow smoothly. Copy and pasting a section from previous text is just plain lazy.

Offline Peat

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Re: "I remember, when..."
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2020, 06:28:49 PM »
Well, I've definitely read those Dresden Files examples and driven straight by without thinking anything is up with them. But then I guess I think the way events build on events and memories in the Dresden Files is a good thing, so I'm less likely to think of it as bad.

I also reminisce in my head a lot, so I guess I'm prepared to believe it of pretty much any character.
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