Friday, November 13, 2009

Using the Flashback

Flashback Friday...

Flash back to a point in time. Last night? No, thanks anyway. The day is done we go on and we flashback to a place in time where we’re going to add to the story, enhance what you’ve written and give the reader more insight into your character.

We use flashbacks to reveal something in our characters, the antagonist or protagonist, that the reader doesn’t know about. I remember reading The Haunting of Hill House and being led down multiple parts of Eleanor’s personality through her flashbacks and insight to what she was experiencing in the here and now. (That’s an excellent book by the way.)

Some writer’s use the flashback tool without the reader even aware that they are using it. The flow is effortless, the flashback keeps the pace with the rest of the story, and it is never over-used to where you’re reading nothing but flashbacks.

Have you noticed in movies, the way flashbacks are used? They can be a tool for screenwriters too. How about in the movie The Sixth Sense, we get a glimpse of the character and through the use of Flashback we get a darned good ending to the whole story.

I understand that the flashback is sometimes necessary to the movement of the story, but over-done and you lose the reader. You need the FB like you need your morning coffee, and it will taste just as fresh and creative to the reader.

Writer’s Digest has an excellent article on the Flashback and how to use verb tenses, to shift the scene. Be careful though because you have to know the POV (Point of View) that you are in as a writer and which tense you began the book with.

I remember a time in my childhood when things were simpler, I never worried about bills, actually I never worried about life, it flowed for me without me even being aware. Then the time came I ventured out on my own (at 17) because I was a big girl and then all hell broke loose. Life happened, spun out of control and segued into my future. Nuff said.

So what are you, writer, going to write about? Are you going to tell a story without a flashback? Making everything clear from word one? Or are you going to tease the reader a bit with a dangling piece of chocolate and carry him down memory lane so he/she can see where the character has come from, where they’ve been and where they’re going.

It’s all up to you. You are in the creative driver’s seat and you need to head down the highway of bringing a story alive! I only hope that I’ve helped in some way of getting the points across for you to begin!

Write on writers!


Stormcrow said...

Yep, I'm still flashing back to last night. That was a pretty great night.

joni said...

Well good for you! I wouldn't go THAT far. Maybe it was... challenging?

joni said...

Hey, but I'm glad I was there to share the most glorious day of your life. *smile* ILU

benning said...

I like flashbacks, but only if they aren't over-done. They help add to the back-story.