1. Keyvee
    Offline

    Keyvee Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bolesławiec/Poland

    How to introduce a flashback

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Keyvee, May 21, 2008.

    Hello, can anyone help and give me an example sentence of how to introduce a
    flashback. For example there's a situations.
    She sat on her bed and looked at the picture. NOW flashback (how to put it?)
     
  2. Al B
    Offline

    Al B Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    10
    There are any number of ways to do it, but there are some things to watch out for.

    First, you need to be completely aware of the purpose of your flashback in the narrative. If it is to reveal something important about the character, or the story (and it should be), then you don't want to waste time in the flashback text describing the 'chill wind', or 'the rosy fingers of sunlight', or any of the other terrible cliche descriptions which show up in writing, except in the rare circumstances where the weather is actually the point of the flashback, or perhaps triggers it. Generally speaking, you just want to impart the relevant information, however, if it is a pleasant memory, you may want to linger with it a little, and have an excuse to do so. Strictly speaking that would make it more like a daydream, but even so, it can serve the same purpose as a flashback.

    If you think about when you have a flashback in real life, it's kind of like how it is often portrayed in movies, with a quick series of images, or a bit of fast-forwarded film, that is to say, because it is a memory, it plays back in a microsecond, rather than in real time, as you remember it in all its cringeworthy, or thrilling glory, depending on whether it's a good or bad memory. Not a bad idea to try and do that with your writing.

    Going into a flashback can be subtle, or in your face. And that can help convey whether it is something awful as a memory, or something lovely and pleasant to remember, without having to rely on the incident itself, or the way you write it to impart its meaning to your character and to the reader. So, you might want to simply flow gently into a nice memory, whereas it's better to jolt into an awful one, as having a flashback to something terrible is often something which catches you unawares.

    It's also not a bad idea to have it take you full circle, back to the present. You don't have to do that, but generally speaking it's a good approach, so it appears that you have eased back into reality, although you can of course also jolt out of it if you feel that helps your story, with something grounded in present reality, like the phone ringing, or your character thinking 'oh my god, is that the time?', or 'sh*t, the pan's boiling over'.

    So you can either do this:

    She sat on her bed and looked at the picture. No! please don't hit me again! She was back in that terrible summer of 1975, etc.

    or, this:

    She sat on her bed and looked at the picture, the warm sunlight streaming through the window took her back to that endless summer of 1975, etc.

    Al
     
  3. Keyvee
    Offline

    Keyvee Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bolesławiec/Poland
    Thank you very much! That is what I needed
     
  4. Wintermute
    Offline

    Wintermute Banned

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South Jersey
    It's really up to how creative you are. There is no pre-determined, set format for introducing a flashback.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's most usually done by simply inserting a line break and then just dropping the reader right into the flashback... an intro is not needed and imo, in most cases should not be provided, as it dilutes the effect of the flashback and its impact on the writer... it's like telling the readers you're going to tell them something, instead of just going ahead and telling them... if the writer has good skills, it will be clear that it's a flashback...

    here's what i mean:

    that's too much on the romancy side for my taste, but i did it that way just for an example of how to do a flashback without an intro... hope it helps... hugs, maia
     
  6. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    there are dream scenes you can do where someone dreams, and they're "reliving" the past in their dreams-like a lot of us do in real life. I've found the you can subtly have flashbacks in a story when your character is having moral dilemma's too
     

Share This Page