1. AllWrite

    AllWrite Member

    Sep 23, 2008
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    Flashback/Present blending

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AllWrite, Aug 10, 2011.

    Attempting to create an opening scene where the main character has a flashback that has similarities to his current conditions so that the opening and ending scene kind of blend in. I'm doing it this way so that the ending displays irony.

    Are there any do's and don'ts to this approach or is my question too vague?
    What are effective ways to indicate a flashback within a story?
  2. Sundae

    Sundae Contributing Member

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Astral Weeks
    Too vague of a question.

    Advice: Don't worry about your ending. Write the beginning they way you envision it. If you write the novel the way you envision your story unfolding, you won't have a problem tying your ending to your beginning or relating the irony.


    Too vague really to answer other than do some research on properly conveying flashbacks. There are general rules like, you can't have flashback withing a flashback. There are also different types of flashbacks and all of this depends on how you are writing your story, so my suggestion, read up on flashbacks.

    But generally, you don't need a flashback unless it's an important scene in the novel that needs to be shown. And if it is an important scene, then, one of the most effective ways is to write that flashback just like any other important scene in a novel. It doesn't need any special decoration so that readers know it's a flashback, the scene just requires a good transition from your current present to into the flashback.

    If it a scene that doesn't need to be shown to the readers to understand the story, or doesn't have a strong punch to it, you may consider properly narrating what happened in a few sentences.
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    I'm a lover of this kinda writing - anything with double meanings, playing with words, and repetition between beginning and end that gives a different meaning fascinate me!

    Without knowing what you wanna play around with, it's hard to advice though.

    I would personally use words that could play in both settings.

    You kinda interject your scene with elements that break through the setting and jerks your reader back to reality. If your reality setting has some pivotal object, something unique that your readers will recognise and be able to place straight away, then use that image instead.

    I did a kinda flashback halfway through and I sort of blended the setting of the flashback with the setting of reality to transit back into reality. This one I used a common element in the setting to move between the two. Example below:


    Eleanor turned – Luke was approaching. The corridor was lit only by a small candle; the soft light reminded her of the many times when Luke and her would play together as children, creeping down corridors with nothing but a dancing flame to light the way whilst hushing each other between giggles. Their laughter seemed to echo now: invisible, intangible, like ghosts of the past. “What’re you doing up?” she smiled, gently closing the door behind her."

    Either way, the key is to link common elements between the flashback and your reality.

    Otherwise, use words with double meanings, like the word "light" - move from describing the lightness of a feather to daybreak. Or other elements, like "burning" and "fire" (I used that most recently because my MC has just been horribly burnt). The best is if you can use the same word to convey a completely different meaning - I love to do that.

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