We have touched on the muse and how it comes from a timeless place beyond our temporal world. So the essence of timelessness speaks out in a singular moment, an absolute place in memory, brought on by coincidence, synchronicity, and a great many other mysteries spun into the narrative tapestry.
It is the mysterious that concerns us with 3: Narrative Timelessness, enough where we should want to plan out moments of timelessness in our text so that a sense of the random or of “fate” feels manifest. How else do we lay self-fulfilling prophecies, destinations of doom, pronouncement of curses, or signs of prophecy, at the feet of our heroes and villains?
States of Timelessness: The Four Fors
Foreshadowing: Often times a circumstance fails to convince a character of any danger. Doubt, disbelief, disorientation, or apathy may come along with stress and worry. This may grant nebulous tension for the audience, or provide a remorseful rearview mirror on the narrative’s road. A single thing, unknowable, unseeable, and beyond mere mundane life, can be used to unmake someone’s world.
Forbidding: Taking the forbidden fruit, exploring the haunted house, kissing a betrothed princess, sneaking around a dragon’s den. These are some things which smack of the forbidden and may demand a hideous penalty for their transgression. Actions, reactions, and consequences, these bring strain and tension out of the forbidden drama with a general warning or the threat of being caught made threatening clear.
Foreboding: Like Foreshadowing, a foreboding theme offers a veiled suggestion of wrongness or danger, but it is far more present in the narrative and likely is part of the environment. The phrase: “if only we…” may be involved, like, if we had this, or if we only did that, and regret or guilt may be woven into a wrong turn ahead in the narrative road.
Forgone: Something terrible regarding Foreshadowed, Forbidden, or Foreboding themes may provide a crisis. A crisis of such dreadfulness that character needs to get it “over with.” The timelessness pertaining to what is forgone issues a temporal doom, a sort of deed or mission that needs to be accomplished else someone (or many) must suffer. Success brings a haunting relief. Failure brings remorse and or guilt for all that is lost. Usually forgone means over, but the nightmare of its possibility is a sharp tool.
In order to bring emphasis to any moment in the text/narrative, a sense of past must reach, either subtly or abruptly, into the now, and hopefully double down on an uncertain future. So we may bring drama to a text that may not have been there otherwise, or perhaps allow for a breath of mercy once the climax of the story comes to be.
Signs and Wonders: Is the Universe Alive?
As had been suggested, when there are signs in the elements or symbolic consciousness, a sense of the timeless or even spaceless envelopes the concepts concerned. The structure of such messages seem to suggest personification or at the very least, some sort of intelligence.
Elemental Omens – an interpretation of a sign in the world
Thematic Omens – an interpretation of a sign in relevant iconography
Somnific Omens – an interpretation of a sign in a dream
Oracular Omens – an interpretation of a sign in divination
An omen may be wielded as a communication from God, karma, or even fate, but it is always an emanation of timelessness from the unconscious. Regardless of the reality of any concept in the narrative confines, consciousness (known) and unconsciousness (unknown) are bridged by awareness (sensorium).
Combined with the four fors of timelessness, omens can be used to impose dramatic priority concerning “the big picture,” not to mention pacing for the outline process to liven what already works for a mythic or epic tale!
If you have a constant flow of omens, they will diminish themselves, so when it comes to timelessness, a little goes a long way. Try it out and see for yourself.