1. Good Apollo
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    Good Apollo New Member

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    "In Media Res"

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Good Apollo, Mar 28, 2012.

    I'm struggling a little bit, here. My novel concerns a man returning from World War Two, though a prime sub-plot is him being accosted / hunted by anti-Communist agents. I want to kick the story off with a scene of him being interrogated by these men, though I also need the background information of him returning to see his daughter, explaining his bleak situation, etc., as this point in the story was intended to come much later. I don't like flashbacks or "back-tracking" because I think it's rather lazy.

    Any tips?

    Thanks.
     
  2. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I don't think backtracking is lazy; it comes with the territory if you start in media res. But you have an entirely natural way of fitting it in -- more so than usual. Your MP is being interrogated, so of course he'll talk about the past! (He might also be an unreliable narrator, of course...)
     
  3. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Flashbacks are great if used well! Here are some things to consider for your flashbacks:

    1) it should focus on all the following: Action, information, character interaction
    2) Information in the flashback MUST be related to the main plot
    3) Always be sure to use flashbacks judiciously so the reader doesn't lose track of the main plot
    4) Use flashbacks when the past directly affects the current point in the main plot
    5) Use flashbacks when you can use an element of the past to create suspense in the present
    6) Use flashbacks to deepen reader's understanding of a character
     
  4. Good Apollo
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    Good Apollo New Member

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    Thanks guys! Hrm. Could be interesting. I'll try to see what I can do with arranging the scenes. Maybe some flashbacks as he drifts in and out of consciousness, with the interrogation as the main anchoring point.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Collect all the background information you believe the reader needs, and throw away 90% of it. Chances are what's left is still more than is necessary, but it's reduced to the point you can let it fall to the reader a crumb at a time.

    There's nothing lazy about presenting hints from the past to the reader. In fact, it can take considerable ingenuity. In fact, the infodump at the beginning is what is lazy, because the writer hasn't done the work of distilling it down to the bare essentials.
     
  6. Good Apollo
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    Good Apollo New Member

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    I hear you there. I'm trying to discern what's useful and what's not. Good tip, though. I think shaving away material has always been something I've overlooked in favor of adding.
     

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