#SOLSC21: Act 1

She called my name. I rose. Clicked my phone closed and went to the counter to collect my paperwork. Mission accomplished. On with my day.

And before that . . . Waiting for the timer to go off. Scrolling emails. Scrolling Twitter. Scrolling Facebook. No messages. Each minute passing by at an excruciatingly, obnoxiously slow pace. As I made a list and added it to the calendar, I checked the time again. Only 5 minutes had gone by. Now what? I checked my blog. Read it from my phone. Considered the way it looked on my phone since this post was published from my Chromebook. I began setting up a series for the next week. . . Still waiting.

And before that . . . I took a seat in the waiting area. I checked the time. With luck I would be out before my appointment time actually arrived. I looked around at the aisles and decided to put my enforced time to work. Something. Anything.

And before that . . . As I exited, I heard, “We’ll call your name after your mandatory 15 minutes and you can pick up your paperwork.”

And before that . . . I pushed my shirt sleeve up so my shoulder was exposed. I looked away as I felt a small stick. Two seconds later and, “You can take a seat.”

And before that . . . I went to the counter and handed over my signed form and was told to enter the door on my right. No waiting. Inside, a plain unadorned room with one table and a chair. Both empty. I sat in the chair.

And before that . . . I entered the store, scanning the building for my destination. Guessing that a label would tip me off. And yet the unfamiliarity didn’t slow me down. Obviously, my destination was NOT at the front. I had already passed the checkers. I kept walking as I knew the location would quickly be revealed.

How might you manipulate time in order to tell a story in a different order?

Narrative Format

This is the second installment in a story begun in last week’s post, Prelude.


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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28 responses

  1. Clare Landrigan | Reply

    Oh… I think I could use that to tell the story of how two broken arms came to be…

    1. Yes, it would really work for your story!!!!

  2. I wrote about the same event but with a sequential perspective. I love the way you played with this moment. So good to see you here!

    1. Dear Julianne,
      Miss you! IRL and online. Can’t wait to read your version.

  3. I experienced these moments along with you as I recently went through the same process. It’s interesting to walk through it back wards in the way you’ve written it. Somehow writing it backwards recaptures the awkwardness of the 15 minute wait period really well – because it comes toward the beginning and I was still trying to figure out what was happening! On with the day, indeed! 🙂

    1. Tim,
      I use this format every year. The variance is in the story … stretching out time or compressing time?
      On with the day!

  4. Fran, telling a story from end to beginning is a great way to get people involved in how you got to where you ended. Not all stories need to start at the beginning to get to the end.

    1. Thanks,
      Kinda fun to walk it backwards and think of the details!

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this slice of life, Fran! It reminded me of Tell Me the Day Backwards. Do you know that picture book?

    1. Stacey,
      I don’t but I just put it on my list. Sometimes remembering the most recent even triggers other ideas. Sometimes not! Thanks for the book rec!

  6. Great format here for telling your story. I got my first shot on Saturday and the story is very similar. Much relief and the atmosphere was so uplifting.

  7. Thanks for reminding me of this format! It worked so well to reveal your story.
    So glad we are here writing again for another March!!

    1. Sally,
      I love the daily routine. It’s fun to broaden the audience and purpose in March!

  8. […] and Playfulness: “And before that” and […]

  9. […] Be Inspired post comes from Fran McVeigh at the blog, Resource-Full. Fran’s post uses a creative structure for telling a story: moving backward in time by […]

  10. Wow, I love how you play with time! I must try this craft technique. Thank you, and congrats on your shot!

  11. There’s a chapter in one of the Wayside School Books where the entire chapter is told backward. It’s my favorite! I’ve never played with this as a writer, though. Maybe I’ll try it out!

    1. Jackie, I hope you try it. My tip. Choose just a small moment and its so much more fun to think about the little pieces of the end rather than just a recounting!

  12. THIS is an incredible format. I love it. I’m going to use it. THANK you.

    1. You are welcome, Anita! I love playing with formats.

  13. Fran, I never tried to write a story in reverse. I like how your story can beyond my mentor text.

    1. Carol, It’s fun as long as you pick a very specific event. Students who have chosen an “all day” story found it “too hsrd”!

  14. I love this style! I’m going to be trying this with my eighth graders after spring break!

    1. Thanks. It was fun to use.

  15. […] by Fran McVeigh‘s time-bending post…Based on a true story.“Okay I’ll be back in the […]

  16. […] ethereesMs. Chen’s “My Ten” post (along with her time-bending post, borrowed from Fran McVeigh)Britt’s and onathough’s “6 words” slicesVickie and Ravienne’s […]

  17. […] One of posts they featured during the challenge used this structure of reverse chronology. I used Fran McVeigh’s blog post as my mentor text. I chose this moment because I felt like I was suspended in time when […]

  18. […] thanks to Vivian Chen and Fran McVeigh, who first gave me the inspiration to use this form. Visit them. Theirs, I assure you, are some […]

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