1. lhjfoster
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    lhjfoster New Member

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    Flashbacks.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lhjfoster, Sep 16, 2014.

    Hey guys,

    Basically I have an idea where around 80 individuals are frozen in tubes that are set to open in 1000 years (too cliche?). I won't waste time writing what it's about. There will be a small number of these 80 who will obviously be main characters and I want to include flashbacks to before they were frozen to show why they are the way they are and why they volunteered, for example were they running from something, or had they just hit a dead end in life etc. A similar idea would be in the TV series 'Lost' where you see the past events that occurred in their lives. The only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is how I would put that down in writing. Obviously if I haven't fully grasped it yet, how on earth are my readers!?

    So I will either create a novel, or a script for a TV series (which I have just thought of now as I am writing this). I think a script would be a lot easier, but I don't want easy, I want brilliant (well, sort of brilliant).

    All feedback appreciated, thanks in advance :)

    lhjfoster
     
  2. jaebird
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    jaebird Active Member

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    I don't think your idea is too cliche. It's what you do with it that determines that. I mean, you mention Lost, which is about people getting stranded on a desert island, and how often do you see that in stories? It's what is done with that basic idea that makes it different.

    I hope this helps: Have you figured out the back stories for your main characters? One thing you could do is have something that happens in the present trigger the character to remember an event from their past. For a simple example, say someone hands a character a knife and it makes that character remember when they accidentally killed someone with a knife. As you're writing, choices the characters make will no doubt arise from events that occurred in the past. Write scenes where something a character does or says doesn't make sense until you get the trigger for the event in the past that explains it.

    Just don't give it all away too soon. ;)
     
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  3. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Run each flashback as a story in and of itself? But for this to work, the characters you choose have to be somehow related in their past as well and intersect into the present. The past relationship doesn't need to be obvious, plenty of authors have had two characters meet in the present where their past's have only been tangentially intertwined, like a cascade of domino's leading up to their eventual meeting.

    Mostly this has been how authors I've read have presented it, you time hop from one characters story to the next rather than have flashbacks interjected into the present story, which can be distracting if not done right.
     
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  4. Michaelson345
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    Michaelson345 Member

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    This flashback story scene is quite common for every story writers and it can be found in many story books or novels, so if you are going with this then you must have to add some attractive scene rather then implementing the same old story in a new way of past love or relationships, try to add some adventurous scenario that engage the readers with the scene totally.
     
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  5. Anthonydavid11
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    Anthonydavid11 Member

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    I am not a fan of flash backs. I find them highly unrealistic and can really stall a great story. Even watching the Walking Dead, I get tired of the flashbacks. Even the few on Breaking Bad got on my nerves. I think readers want a story that moves. Not rewinds.

    I try my best to keep storytelling to like a person telling the story to a friend. And flash backs don't really happen in those cases. You could jump around but once again that gets on people's nerves.

    As far as lost, I wish they had left a lot of those flash backs out. And you might say "How on earth could you do that?"

    Well, I would suggest reading Lord of the Flies. Here we have a huge group of boys crash land on an island and we see the character Jack descend into savagery while Ralph still keeps his civilization and moral side to him in a nutshell. No flash backs and one of the best stories I have ever read. Lost relied a lot on back story and while some of them were interesting, I think they could have alluded to the histories more rather than showing the flash backs. Sawyer ends up telling Kate what happened with his parents and yet it is also shown. Why? We already now what happened and in th instance, Sawyer telling us is better than it being shown.

    Another great example is Robin Williams' character Sy in One Hour Photo at the end, revealing how he had a horrible childhood but there is not flashback and not even profanity which made the scene so mu more powerful. When people reveal things like that in real life, we are stunned. Going back and showing it is okay, but we couldn't really go back in time in real life to see what happened. A character telling us can be just as powerful, if not more so.

    At the end of the day, flash backs are not going away. But I do look for alternatives. I think they are just unrealistic and usually take a lot of tension away which is not god for fiction. The more tension the better! Have a great day!
     
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  6. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why would flashbacks be your method of choice? Couldn't you just start each episode/chapter with the story that got the tubie in this situation?
     
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  7. thewritingguy
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    thewritingguy Member

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    Hmm a little cliche add a little something something to make it hella interesting and grab people in. Something different y'know.
     
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