1. Gaurav
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    Gaurav Member

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    Going in the flashback

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gaurav, Feb 24, 2014.

    While writing any story, I want to figure out a way to go in flashback without mentioning things like 'Sometime ago' because it sounds more like a screenplay. Any suggestions?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You have to do it with description so the reader recognizes you've changed timeframes without being told.

    The character's age, something else to let the reader know you are in a different location, things like that. As long as it is apparent fairly quickly it shouldn't confuse the reader.
     
  3. Gaurav
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    Gaurav Member

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    Thanks for the reply. But is it okay to straight away mention 'Some time back' or sort of a thing which will make it more clear for readers to understand.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I wouldn't but one really needs to write/read it to know for certain. There are no absolutes in writing. Typically if you rely on "some time ago" or similar segues you are telling the reader things that are more engaging if the reader experiences the events directly through the writing rather than being told.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Flashbacks are something, when done right, can carry out on your plot or subplot. I made mine a bit more subtle. The first one that happens involving my MC's son happens when her mind wanders, then the rest are then tied in at certain points in the novel where it fits-and each one is written differently so they are a seamless transition.

    Things to stay away from: "Sometime ago" and those type phrases. They're overdone and cliche. My trick was that I turned I made each one an independent scene and started a chapter with some of them. In fact, one entire chapter is used to tie up the loose ends between my nearly immortal character and her mortal son.

    Best advice: weave it into your story where it's as seamless as possible.
     
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  6. Gaurav
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    Gaurav Member

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    That was really useful! This is a good trick for a novel, but for a short story I find it difficult.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It is harder with a short story, but then flashbacks in a short story are perhaps not the best approach. One can start with some event, a death, an imminent death, things like that and then go on to say something like, "I need to explain how this situation came about", then launch into the backstory/story.

    What role is the flashback serving in the story?
     
  8. Gaurav
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    Gaurav Member

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    I have written my story exactly the way you said. I will post it soon and I hope you can give your valuable suggestions to it.
     
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  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Flashbacks, in my opinion, are terrible in a short story. Not only does it take up space that's better used for other things, but it slows down the pace too. I covered my character's back story in exactly two paragraphs in a short story I wrote. After that, information was sprinkled throughout like fertilizer. When the field needed some, then I put it down. When not, of course I didn't.
     
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  10. Gaurav
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    You are absolutely right in saying that flashbacks are terrible for a short story. Unfortunately the story which I have written and I am hoping to submit it today has flashback as inherent part of the narrative.
     
  11. Jak of Hearts
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    Jak of Hearts Member

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    How I like to handle my flashbacks is with an ellipse. For example, in my story the reader knows the MCs wife is dead. So I I'll say "his mind wandered off...

    ...He stood on his back porch, his wife's arms wrapped around him" as a paraphrased example I used myself.
     
  12. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Here's an example of how I got into and out of a brief flashback:
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    That works. It's more of a recalled event than a flashback.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    jak...

    in case that wasn't just a typo, a '...' is an 'ellipsis'... the pural is 'ellipses'... an 'ellipse' is an oval-ish shape...

    and as you've shown it in the example above, wouldn't be correct usage...

    there's no need for one, since just the sentence, 'His mind wandered back to when they last met,' or whatever detail works best plot-wise, would be all you need to segue to the next paragraph being a flashback... just be sure to insert a line break, with a single # in the center of the line, to show a change of time frame/setting...
     

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