The art of writing stories is based on creativity and innovation. But along with that it’s based on a set of guidelines and rules. These storytelling guidelines decide which route the story will eventually take. In animation, there are two basic types of stories that are Linear and Non Linear stories.
Linear storytelling is the most widely used and accepted format in animation. It develops with a beginning, progresses into a middle and then goes off to a resolution at the end. At the beginning a situation is shown along with a problem arising in the middle of the story and it ends with a resolution or a solution to the story. Linear stories can also work in reverse as seen in Piet Kroon’s short film T.R.A.N.S.I.T. The movie begins as a man is moving away to Argentina after a murder. The movie then goes into a flashback showing the interconnections in the characters’ past and how this situation was inevitable and unavoidable.
Whereas non-linear movies aren’t based on structural outlines, they’re based on setting a mood or an effect. Non linear movies basically consist of experimental short films. Waking Life is a rare example of a full fledged feature film of a non linear pattern. The story revolves around dreamy logic and it builds up over time. Instead of being a carefully assembled narrative.
However both of these type of stories will require extensive pre-production work. Although non linear stories might not need character development as much as linear stories to attains it’s desired effects. If you’re wanting to create a non linear film, you must concentrate on the moods, effects and emotions. Try out different artistic styles, color, sound, music and effects that will impact the audiences in the required and necessary manner.