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Flashbacks?

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earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
Flashbacks?  Reply with quote  

Good? Bad?

Do you write 'em or not?

This is a subject of debate on another (writer's) board and I'd also really like the opinion of a published writer, if CM has any thoughts on it or the time to reply.

My reason behind this? I've used this tool in The Witness Tree (the book I'm working on) and have been told that it is a bad, bad thing . . .
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Post Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:33 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
 Reply with quote  

I do on occasion. It can be confusing to the reader if not done right but rules are made to be broken. When I do use it, it is mainly just for a few lines or more, but not a lot. However I tend to like to read books with a straight line of narrative that don't jump around.

I too would love to hear what Chris says about this.

FL
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Post Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:01 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Kate R



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 463
 Reply with quote  

Oh, earthshoes, if you used it then I'm sure it's good. You seem to be a quality writer just from your posts. If you think it sucks, then that's another thing, but ulitmately it's down to you.

Post Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:49 pm   View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

Hi Katie and FL

No. I don't think it sucks. I think it's pretty good. (Not perfect, just pretty good). My confidence on this stuff waffles. Tomorrow, I might tell you that it sucks. Smile In truth, my instincts tell me (and I don't even know whether to trust them or not) that it's fine as is. My theory is that if the readers already like the character, that they'll want to know where she's coming from and why she's going there--hence the flashback.

Lately, I've been contemplating the wisdom of workshopping nearly polished material. I'm beginning to suspect that after a certain point in a story's development, it's all a matter of opinion.




As I look at the places I've used the flashbacks, I don't see another way to relay the information without a whole lot of "Well, You know Bob"'s (info dumping) or just flat telling instead of showing. However, I am willing to believe that I'm missing something.
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Post Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Butch the Vizsla



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 558
Location: Branford, CT
 Reply with quote  

If you're using a flashback because you have to, and/or because it works in your mind as a writer, then so be it. Just doing it because you think it's cool is bad. As a fiction writer, you're a story teller. If you feel this is the best way tell the story then there's no such thing as bad.
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Post Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:16 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
KKnight



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 12
Location: O-H.....I-O
 Reply with quote  

As a reader I have never had a problem with them. They are great for giving background that is beyond the scope of the immediate story. They make me feel that I know the character more intimately and that is one of the reasons people read. Really I say go with what feels right in your story. Run-ons and sentence fragments are supposed to be bad too, but without them I would be lost. Wink

Post Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message
accuracy above all



Joined: 06 Dec 2006
Posts: 72
Location: right here
 Reply with quote  

The effectiveness of flashbacks, like so many other things, depends on how they are used. We've all read terrific flashbacks and howlers.

If it works, if it adds, if you like it -- use it.

Post Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:55 am   View user's profile Send private message
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
 Reply with quote  

I often use flashbacks but that's mainly because I write freeform with little plotting and flashbacks are an excellent way to introduce some pacing, a new character or a nice plot twist.
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Post Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:42 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
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